Anxiety. Even the word can make you anxious. Do I have anxiety? Will it get worse? Will people judge me? How can I get my brain to STOP!?
Phew. Take a breath. If you’re one of the many people who deal with anxiety, you’re not alone, and there are ways to help.
Anxiety is a strong feeling of fear or worry related to an event, problem, or situation that you are experiencing or that you may experience in the future. Symptoms of anxiety are restlessness, negative thoughts that you can’t get rid of, sweating, shaking, shortness of breath, or even feeling like you’re choking. An anxiety attack often feels like you’re spiraling out of control and you can’t reign yourself back in.
But there are tactics for dealing with anxiety—tactics that help on the spot and that anyone can use. Professional therapists and medication can be a huge help, but when an attack starts, people need something they can use in the moment. The next time you feel yourself starting to spiral, you may want to try the “grounding” method.
A mom recently shared the grounding method on Reddit. She and her son had found it useful in combating their anxiety, and she thought it should be shared with as many people as possible.
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Grounding involves you reconnecting with your environment so that you feel more stable and in control. It doesn’t require a degree, major lifestyle change, or even a lot of time. Here’s how it works:
Stop for a moment. Look around you.
Find 5 things you can see.
Find 4 things you can touch.
Find 3 things you can hear.
Find 2 things you can smell.
Find 1 thing you can taste.
Going through these steps encourages you to focus on the world at hand—the tangible things you can see, feel, touch, and taste. It helps you refocus on what’s real in the moment and not on what could happen. It also helps distract your brain and move it out of overload mode.
People on Reddit appreciated the simple tips. It even got the thumbs-up from professionals:
Grounding is a great strategy to have in your toolkit when anxiety or worry strikes. Teachers and parents can use the exercise to help calm children, and anyone can use it to help themselves relax.
Of course, someone dealing with chronic anxiety should absolutely reach out for help from both friends and professionals. But in a pinch, this exercise is simple to remember and easy to use even when your brain seems out of control. If you can count to five, you can do these steps!
Share if you know someone who could benefit from the grounding method!
This story originally appeared at InspireMore.