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Everyday we are faced with stressful, anxious provoking situations and it’s easy to get in your head. ‘Grounding techniques’ offer a solution to the problem of the human mind that experiences 70,000-100,000 thoughts per day (ever wonder why you are tired, fatigued and overwhelmed by 5pm? – thats why!). 

This technique can help you get through challenging (think stressful and anxiety producing) situations. When we are confronted with experiences that our brains perceive as difficult, impossible or even dangerous (yes, that email notification can feel dangerous), sometimes our bodies produce survival hormones that intend to be helpful but in reality make us physically and emotionally uncomfortable (read mental freak outs, anxiety spirals, outthinking and self sabotaging behaviors). 

Using this technique will walk you through your five senses to help manage tough situations when they arise.

5 – LOOK: Look around for 5 things that you can see, and say them out loud. For example, you could say, I see the computer, I see the cup, I see the picture frame.

4 – FEEL: Pay attention to your body and think of 4 things that you can feel, and say them out loud. For example, you could say, I feel my feet warm in my socks, I feel the hair moving in the breeze.

3 – LISTEN: Listen for 3 sounds. It could be the sound of traffic outside, the sound of typing or the sound of your tummy rumbling. 

2 – SMELL: Say two things you can smell. If you’re able to, it’s okay to move to another spot and sniff something. If you can’t smell anything at the moment or you can’t move, then name your 2 favorite smells.

1 – TASTE: Say one thing you can taste. It may be the toothpaste from brushing your teeth, or a mint from after lunch. If you can’t taste anything, then say your favorite thing to taste.

Need more help managing anxiety, overwhelm, stress or other human experiences? We are here, one email or click away.

Feeling Crazy? Learn how to tame your brain

No B.S. Exercises

This is a fairly simple, yet challenging practice where we use our breath to get us out of our thoughts (because we all know they can be uber distressing sometimes) and back to the here and now.  

Problem solving, planning, thinking are all necessary parts of being human AND when not used as an intentional skill (think pen and paper, collaboration or meeting with yourself) they can cause our anxiety and stress hormones to respond and rise to help us meet the challenge in front of us (and feel a bit wonky and off kilter). 

I encourage you to focus on one component of breath. Pick your own or choose one of the following:

  • The air moving in and out of your nose or mouth
  • Your chest rising and falling
  • Your Belly moving up and down
  • Your lungs expanding and contracting

As you focus on that one component of breath, use your hand to trace your inhales and exhales. You don’t have to change or alter your breath at all, just notice each inhale and exhale, just breathing as you breathe. If you notice you have gotten caught up in thoughts or your mind has wandered off, that’s OK, you are human and we don’t judge being human. Just come back to the practice of tracing your breath with your hand.

Breathing isn’t cutting it? Don’t worry, we all need more support from time to time. At ReLearning Human, we provide online therapy to support you through the challenging and painful experiences of life while cultivating a deeper understanding of what it means to be human — and what it looks like to be human for YOU. 

Book a meet and greet here to get started.

Overwhelmed? This might help

No B.S. Exercises