While nothing will compare to a licensed therapist who can help you work through trauma, sometimes we need a “quick fix” just to get us through the day. Maybe you have anxiety over a presentation or exam and need to calm down just to get through the next half hour. For moments of stress or even panic, here are some tips to help you ground yourself so you can focus on where you are.
When you’re about to panic, it’s easy for your senses to feel overwhelmed. To ground yourself, take a minute to focus on your five senses. Take a deep breath and practice this grounding method. Either in your head or on paper, list out the following: five things you can see, four things you can physically feel, three things you can hear, two things you can smell and one thing you can taste. This always helps me quiet and slow my mind down. Essential oils also come in handy when I do this exercise, since the scent gives me something to focus on.
Sometimes what helps an anxious spiral is just identifying what you need and communicating it with someone who can help. You might need a quick break, encouragement or a hug. If you’re not with a friend, a weighted blanket is a great substitute when you just need physical touch.
The source of my stress is often the inability to slow myself down and determine my priorities. To move past this, I will go to the bathroom or another quiet place to make my to do list, and remind myself to take it one thing at a time.
These tips won’t work for everyone, and if you have frequent anxiety, I seriously recommend considering some lifestyle changes that can help you be proactive about your stress. Some of these ideas might be a change in diet and exercise, frequent meditation and considering if there are any particular toxic relationships or triggers in your life.