An image depicting calmness.

40 Grounding Techniques to Bring You to a Place of Calm

This article was written by Sophie Atkinson

From daily stressors, a desire to understand yourself better, or a need to prevent the dreaded intrusive thoughts, having awareness of grounding techniques that work for you can be invaluable.
These methods can serve as an anchor, guiding you back to a place of stability when you need it most.

For some, this desire for calm occurs in moments of heightened anxiety. Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) is said to affect around 6.8 million adults, 3.1% of the U.S. population, in any given year.

Grounding techniques can be beneficial to have up your sleeve as they ‘ground’ you back into the present moment - pulling you away from any overwhelming or unwelcome thoughts and feelings.

We’ve outlined 40 grounding techniques to bring you to a place of calm, all of which are easy to learn and remember.
    

How Do Grounding Techniques Work?

 
An image of a carefree and happy woman that uses grounding techniques to live a calm and peacefullife.

 

Grounding techniques work as the sensory experiences can redirect attention away from thoughts or the beginnings of a panic attack, towards something that is happening in the current moment.    

By having to complete an activity or needing to focus on a task, these methods can then help you regain a sense of control as they can cut through negative thought patterns.

Your attention will be completely absorbed by the exercise, re-directing you and bringing a clean slate to your thoughts once again.

If you are dealing with poor mental health, you should seek medical advice or have a medically reviewed plan put in place to support you. Grounding techniques can be used alongside other methods.

 

Benefits of Grounding Techniques


Grounding techniques are extremely handy to remember as they can support mental and emotional wellbeing. Some benefits include:
  • Reducing anxiety during overwhelming moment
  • Being a tool to help you feel in control
  • Enables emotional regulation
  • Brings on a feeling of empowerment and self-efficacy
  • Improved focus and concentration
  • Stress reduction

How to Ground Yourself?

There are lots of ways to ground yourself, from being out in nature and walking barefoot in the grass to counting backward from 100.

We’ve listed over 40 options for you to try and you should experiment to find what works best for you. You should practice them regularly, especially during moments of stress or overwhelm. And with time and consistency, you’ll be able to refer to these and use them as a valuable skill for maintaining emotional balance and assisting with wellbeing.

Being able to take yourself out of potentially difficult moments can be incredibly empowering.

Physical Grounding Techniques

An image of a woman jogging in a relaxing nature as part of the grounding techniques for calmness.

Progressive Muscle Relaxation


This is based upon the practice of tensing one muscle group at a time followed by a relaxation period. When you tighten specific muscle groups, pay attention to what this feels like at every part of the body.

You shouldn’t partake in this if you have a history of muscle spasms, serious injuries, or chronic pain.


Move Your Body


Whether you get down on the ground and start doing push ups or opt for the classic jumping jack, just start moving. This can take your brain out of negative thoughts and get some blood pumping.


Journal


Putting pen to paper and writing down visions, reflections, or revelations can help you be in the current and explore any challenges or emotions that you’re experiencing.Being consistent with journaling is when you’ll reap the most benefits.


Volunteer or Give Back


Taking part in a volunteering program or helping out a family member when they’re in need can bring a whole sense of meaning and purpose into your life.

As well as having a positive impact on the people you’re helping, it can relieve stress and boost happiness too.


Cook a Hearty Meal


Roast veggies or opt for a warm soup, stew, or chili. Not only will the warmth be soothing, but eating root vegetables is rich in nutrients and can energetically ground you.


Mindfulness Exercises

 

An image of a man doing tai chi, one of the grounding techniques to bring calmness into life.

 

5-4-3-2-1 Technique


With benefits like raising awareness of your surroundings while decreasing intrusive thoughts in the throes of heightened anxiety, this technique can be amazing to have in your back pocket when you need it. If a loved one is panicking, this method is great to lend a helping hand.

Simply list out five things you can see, four things you can touch, three things you can hear, two things you can smell, and one thing you can taste.


Tai Chi


Tai Chi is a non-strenuous and gentle form of martial art practiced for both self-defense and health. The slow and intentional movements can help maintain strength, flexibility, and balance.

Harvard University suggests it could be the perfect activity to partake in for the rest of your life.


3-3-3


Similar to the 5-4-3-2-1 technique, this is another grounding task that is quick and easy, aimed at providing quick relief from anxiety. It allows you to refocus your attention on the present moment.

Describe out loud: three things you can see, three things you can touch, and then take three deep breaths.


Raisin Exercise


Hailed as one of the best ways for beginners to start practicing mindfulness, this activity involves people holding a few raisins (or any foods/objects) and taking the time to think about the way it looks, feels, smells, and tastes. You should imagine you’ve never seen one before.

Again, this is a useful way to focus on your mind in the present moment.


Listen to Your Surroundings


Wherever you are right now, take some time to listen to the traffic (or lack of it) and the environment around you.

What can you hear? Let the sounds wash over you.


Leave the Pain Behind


If you’re struggling with negative thoughts, visualize gathering the emotions up and putting them in a box away from your mind.

This could help with prioritizing tasks too.


Meditation Techniques

 

a woman demonstrating meditation by doing yoga as a grounding technique.


Yoga


According to the National Institutes of Health, scientific evidence shows that yoga supports stress management, mental health, mindfulness, healthy eating, weight loss, and quality sleep.

There are different types that you can explore, either through classes or the likes of YouTube.

As an easy way to begin, make some space and work on some yoga poses.


Dreamwork


This is a form of therapy whereby you take time to reflect on previously unconscious thoughts or feelings (dreams) and make connections between symbolisms.


Body Scan


Lie down on your back and mentally scan yourself from head to toe. It sounds bizarre, but bringing awareness to every single part of your body is said to be grounding, reduce stress, and increase self-compassion.


3-Minute Breathing


Meditation doesn’t always equate to silence. For people just starting out, the thoughts can feel as though they’re running wild. To counteract this, spend just three minutes out of your day dedicated to this meditation.

In the first minute, ask yourself ‘how am I doing right now?’ and answer in your head. In the second minute focus on the breath. And in the third and final, use this time for expansion of attention outward from the breath. Consider the ways breathing affects your body.


Own Thoughts


Meditation doesn’t require guidance or complete serenity of your mind either. Sit for 10 - 15 minutes and simply observe your own thoughts.

Get comfortable and allow everything that comes into your head to pass through.


Laugh Therapy


Laughter yoga is a playful way to relieve stress and improve wellbeing. It’s as simple as forcing yourself to laugh. It’s even better when others join in as after a while you’re likely going to start laughing for real.

Since ancient times, laughter has been used to influence cognitive behavior and improve and establish healthy physical, psychological, and social relationships.

 

Connecting With Nature

 

An image of a tree with a table and chairs underneath, set against a beautiful morning backdrop as part of the grounding techniques to bring calmness to life.

Forest Bathing


The Japanese concept of Shinrin-Yoku translates into ‘forest bathing,’ with shinrin meaning forest and yoku meaning bath/bathing. The practice involves walking into a forest and soaking in the atmosphere. It’s said that this allows the brain to ‘naturally switch off from the sustained directed attention of life’s daily pressures.’

 

Earthing


Also known as earth grounding, this is when the body makes physical contact with the Earth’s natural electric charge. It’s said to stabilize the physiology and reduce inflammation, pain, and stress.

To practice this, walk barefoot outside on dirt, grass, or sand.


Nature immersion


Nature immersion therapy is an approach that involves re-connecting with nature to boost overall health. The premise focuses on people being outdoors and in the natural world.

If possible, integrate getting out in the world into your daily routine. This could start as going for a walk on your lunch break or suggesting hikes with friends on the weekend.


Grow Your Own Food


Although it’s not quite akin to full nature immersion, even doing some small activities like growing your own herbs, fruit, or vegetables can improve psychological wellbeing and health.

P.S. Some of the easiest fruit and veg to grow in your backyard are tomatoes, beans, strawberries, and salad leaves. You’ll have a thriving garden before you know it!


Listening to Forest Soundscapes


Due to modern technology, you can now be transported to the tropics of the Amazon or even the dense forests in Sweden at the click of a button. Forest-related soundscapes can be extremely relaxing and are a more accessible form of grounding than getting outside.

Simply being around the noise of nature can lower blood pressure and stress hormones. So it’s more than just a pretty sound, it has a hugely positive impact on the human body.


Observe a Leaf


For five minutes, hold a leaf in your hand and give it your full attention. That’s all you have to do for that time.

Think about the shape, texture, pattern, and colors. Without realizing it, there’s a good chance you’ll feel de-stressed.


Early Morning

 

For this one, all you need is a gentle alarm that you can set to sunrise. Once this rings, drink a big glass of water and go outside within 10 minutes. Greeting the world as the sun begins to appear can support your natural energy rhythm.


Grounding Techniques for Anxiety

An image of a man holding his pet dog, a calming act and a grounding technique.

Pursed Lip Breathing


This is a form of deep breathing that slows down your pace as you can manage each breath.

To do this relax and keep your mouth closed, then slowly inhale through your nose for two counts. Purse your lips as though you’re about to whistle. Slowly exhale by blowing air through your lips for a count of four.


Alternate Nostril Breathing


This is a breathing technique that you can practice at any time, especially when you’re feeling anxious.

Sit comfortably and use your thumb to gently cover one nostril, inhale through the other, and then switch, continuing to repeat this a few times.

Avoid this deep breathing if you’re feeling sick or congested.


General Deep Breathing


Breathing can help you feel relaxed and re-centered. To do this, choose whether to sit or stand and allow your chest to expand. Take a deep inhale through your nose, retaining the breath for a count of five, and then slowly release the breath by exhaling through the nose.

Repeat this process as many times as you need, people often do this for 10 - 20 minutes or so.


Spend Some Time With Your Pet


Pets can bring a sense of security and remind you that you have someone to share your day with. In fact, interacting with animals has been shown to decrease levels of cortisol (the stress-related hormone) and lower blood pressure.

So grab your fluffy companion and cuddle up together on the couch.


Gratitude Practice


Whether you decide to express gratitude to loved ones or yourself (by speaking out loud or writing it down) it can remind you of all the good things in life and increase satisfaction along the way.

Some gratitude affirmations include:

‘I am thankful for today’
‘I am so grateful’
‘I am counting my blessings’
‘I am grateful for my freedom’


Write Yourself a Letter


A study from the University of Lesley in Cambridge, Massachusetts, suggests that writing a letter to your future self can help to reduce anxiety.

Participants in the research were found to write motivational messages to themselves, like ‘you’re doing great’ and ‘you can do it.’ For others, it served as a reminder of things they want to remember and work on in the future.


Be Kind to Yourself


Say aloud the following phrases:

‘It’s okay to be where you are, you’re doing your best.’
‘You’re having a rough time, but you’ll make it through.’
‘You’ve survived every difficult day, you can move through this pain.’


Body Awareness


This method can mean several things, you could:

Put your feet flat on the ground, wiggle your toes, curl and uncurl them. Spend some time paying attention to how it feels.
Put your hands into a fist and then release them.
Stomp your feet on the floor and think about how it feels.


Counting


Counting backward from a high number, like 100, can really re-center your mind and bring you back to the present time.


Categories


A positive way to take your mind off daily stressors momentarily is a quick category name. Decide on three categories and name as many items as you can in each one, some examples could be countries, movies, cars, or celebrities.


Sensory Techniques

 
An image of leaves and essential oils in a bottle, representing sensory grounding techniques.

Aromatherapy


Use candles, incense, or diffusing oils - anything that has a soothing scent and immerse yourself in it.


Hold a Piece of Ice


Multiple studies have shown that applying an icy compress or even drinking ice water may slow down your heart rate and cause a shift in your parasympathetic nervous system.


Put Your Hands Under the Faucet


Zone in on the water and how it feels running off your fingertips and palms. Switch between cold and warm water.


Get Some Steps In


Sometimes, some fresh air and exercise can go a long way. Take yourself for a solo walk and concentrate on every movement and rhythm as your feet hit the ground and lift back up again.

While it can be nice to listen to music or podcasts, consider using this time to be in your own thoughts.

 

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Hold Something Squishy


Stress balls have been around for years and they’re a great tool for allowing your mind to spare a moment or two to focus on the feeling of something.

If you don’t have one nearby, touch different objects - heavy, light, warm, cool, etc.


Cuddle Up Under a Weighted Blanket


Or anything comfortable! Some small clinical trials have shown that people who use weighted blankets report better sleep, and less stress and anxiety, and one study has even suggested people experience less pain too.

These blankets, or any heavy throw, could bring on the same responses in your body that happen when you get a hug - with a surge of feel-good hormones, like oxytocin.

For more articles on wellness, read:

Headshot of Sophie Atkinson: Kineon's Women's Health and Wellness Writer

Sophie Atkinson

Job Title: Women's Health and Wellness Writer
LinkedIn: @Sophie_Atkinson
Location: United Kingdom
Bio: Sophie Atkinson is a journalist and content writer. Sophie went straight into the newsroom, after graduating with a BA (Hons) degree in Journalism. She has since gone on to work as a freelancer for a range of brands worldwide. Her work has included a focus on several topics around women’s health, with the aim of putting a stop to the taboo culture surrounding certain subjects and health issues

About Kineon

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