When we have our grounding tools ready, we can more easily self soothe to pivot away from anxiety, depression, and even dissociation.
By Dr T J Jordan
Assembling a toolkit that contains objects and techniques to ground ourselves can be an effective way to support our mental health.
Grounding can alleviate our anxiety, prevent or derail panic attacks, and even pivot us away from dissociation. It can help us find better sleep and a more secure outlook on life. But the best time to create our toolkit is not when we’re struggling with upset or overthinking.
The practice of grounding consists of focusing the mind and the senses on the present moment. Grounding is a kind of self soothing that makes use of our imaginations and our senses.
Putting some forethought into assembling a grounding toolkit makes grounding easier, especially when we’re experiencing an uptick in unpleasant emotions.
The Essence of Grounding
When our thoughts start racing into overwhelm, we need to get out of our heads before our bodies get hijacked. We need a break from the habit of cognitive overstimulation and the muscle tension that ensues.
Grounding distracts us from our rapidly cycling thoughts in a way that provides a sense of control. Remember that the various forms of anxiety and depression drag us backwards into unfortunate events of the past or forward into worries about the unknowable future. Grounding, on the other hand, focuses us on the present moment.
Grounding is a mindfulness practice. It isn’t intended to solve deep issues that are the sources of distressing feelings — but it can provide the bit of time and space that we need for emotional comfort.
In itself, grounding is not psychotherapy, but it can provide enough safety to provide room for the healing…