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Can grounding techniques help relieve anxiety and stress?

14th June 2021

Simple answer - absolutely yes!

Using grounding techniques can be an effective way of helping to manage stress, anxiety, panic attacks, trauma memories and feelings of dissociation.  They provide a useful distraction from over-whelming and repetitive thoughts, helping you to break the cycle, calm the body, gain control and bring you back to the present moment.

There are many techniques out there to try, most of which involve mindfulness practice, meditation, connecting with your inner physical self, awareness of surroundings and focus on your breathing.  It’s useful to practice several techniques and have a few that you can call upon when needed.

Below is one of the grounding techniques I share with clients. Try this simple grounding technique to help alleviate stress and feel more connected and balanced. 

Box Breathing:

Box breathing or square breathing is a useful grounding technique used to help relieve anxiety, stress and panic attacks as well as to enhance focus, concentration and aid meditation.  

This deep intentional breathing calms and regulates the autonomic nervous system (ANS). It combines mindfulness and focus with slow breathing, lowering blood pressure, increasing blood CO2, enhancing the cardio-inhibitory response of the vagus nerve and stimulating your parasympathetic system. It’s basically a great thing to do for your self-care and wellbeing! 

Follow these simple steps and give this relaxing technique a go; 

  • Find somewhere where you can relax comfortably for a few moments.
  • Sit upright with feet on the floor and relaxing your arms by your sides or with hands in your lap. Then relax, close your eyes and visualise a square box.
  • Breathe in deeply through your nose to the count of 4. Really fill your lungs whilst focusing your attention on your breathing and visualising the first side of the box. 
  • Hold your breath for 4 seconds, whilst visualising drawing the second size of the box. 
  • Exhale, pushing out the breath through your mouth whilst visualising drawing the third side of the box to the count of 4.
  • Hold your breath for 4 seconds, whilst visualising drawing the fourth side of the box. 
  • Repeat this process, with intention and focus until you feel calmer and more relaxed. 
  • Then return to normal relaxed breathing and continue relaxing with eyes closed for a few moments, letting your mind wander as it needs to. 

I often explore such grounding techniques with clients and have plenty more which I share in sessions.  These techniques can be really useful additions to your self-care routine and to use during times of stress.

Please get in touch if you’re struggling with anxiety and stress.  Talking things through, learning different ways of coping and techniques can really help you manage stress and help you gain control of your thoughts, feelings and emotions.

‘’And it’s easy to stay grounded. The ground is very close. And we walk on it every day.’’

Keanu Reeves

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Email: jen@stepbystepcounselling.co.uk

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