The conversation around anxiety has been on the rise recently and psychologists say it doesn’t necessarily mean that more people are anxious compared to the past but rather, more people are willing to talk about their mental state.
Anxiety could stem from several things; fear of the future, stress, the feeling of lack of control. Mental grounding is a way to combat anxiety by releasing stress and regaining control.
In this article, we’ll be sharing some tips to use to stay mentally grounded when you feel anxious.
1. Practice Self-compassion
One of the most common indicators of psychological well-being is Self-compassion. A Harvard study says that self-compassionate people recognize when they are suffering and are kind to themselves at these times, which reduces their anxiety and related depression.
Ways to exercise self-compassion include, comforting your body through self-care, working out, practicing journaling and self-affirmation.
2. Stop catastrophizing
Catastrophizing is assuming that the worst will happen. For example, someone might worry that they’ll fail an exam. From there, they might assume that failing an exam means they’re a bad student and bound to never pass, get a degree, or find a job. They might conclude that this means they’ll never be financially stable.
Practicing mindfulness —a way to recognize which of your thoughts are irrational— when catastrophic thoughts occur can help you gain control over them.
3. Try the 5-4-3-2-1 technique
The 54321 is a grounding technique that can help release mental stress and anxiety, and focus mental energy on things that matter.
It goes thus:
- Acknowledge 5 things around you that you can see
- Acknowledge 4 things around you that you can touch
- Acknowledge 3 things that you can hear
- Acknowledge 2 things that you can smell
- Acknowledge 1 thing that you can taste(or Acknowledge 1 positive thing about yourself)
4. Recharge with music
Mental health professionals have shown that incorporating music into everyday activities can help elevate mood and motivation, aid relaxation and increase efficiency of brain function.
Upbeat music can make you feel more optimistic and positive about life. A slower tempo can quiet your mind and relax your muscles, making you feel soothed while releasing stress.
There are several breathing exercises advised by psychologists you can take if you feel anxious. One of the most common is the 4-7-8 breathing technique. Here is how to practice the technique:
- Place one hand on your belly and the other on your chest.
- Count to four as you take a deep, slow breath from your belly.
- Hold your breath for seven counts.
- Breathe out for eight counts. Try to get all the air out of your lungs by the time you count to eight.
- Repeat three to seven times or until you feel calm.
- Take a few minutes to sit and feel the sensations in your body and mind before returning to your day.