5 Ways To Calm Down

Life is commonly compared to roller coasters and mountains-- we are usually undergoing some kind of ascent or descent, an up or a down. Anxiety is a natural feeling whenever descent happens. It is a common struggle of humankind and is the most common product of stress.

Despite anxiety being a natural reaction, if certain emotions are consistently disturbing your lifestyle, your relationships, and your body, it is important to educate yourself and figure out different ways to calm down. Grounding techniques for anxiety are helpful coping strategies that bring you back to the present world and bring you out of the panic or anxiety you are feeling. The following are 5 grounding techniques to calm yourself:

1. REGULATE YOUR BREATHING

As your thoughts race, it’s a tendency for your breathing to pace along your thoughts. Panic attacks, breakdowns or shortness of breath usually occur if anxiety is provoked. Breathing exercises are common anxiety grounding techniques.

As you try to find a comfortable seat, you relax your neck and shoulder muscles. You then inhale through your nose for two seconds, slowly purse your lips, and exhale for 4 seconds-- continuously repeating the process until you feel less tension.

2. RECONNECT WITH YOUR SENSES

The ‘5 senses grounding’ technique is one of the most effective and commonly used techniques in therapy. It’s an anxiety grounding exercise that aims to reconnect you with the present. As you regulate your breathing, try the following steps:

  • Identify 5 things you can see around you and say it out loud.
  • Pay attention to 4 things you can feel and say it out loud.
  • Tune in to 3 sounds and say it out loud.
  • Try to verbalize 2 scents or what you can smell around you.
  • Identify 1 thing you are tasting and say it out loud.

3. MOVE YOUR BODY

Once tension has been released, as you engage in breathing techniques and the 5 senses grounding technique, moving your body is another anxiety grounding process. Taking a short walk, doing yoga, or exercising can stimulate the release of neurotransmitters --dopamine, norepinephrine, and serotonin-- which play an important role in mood regulation.

Researchers like Jasper Smits, PhD, the Co-Director of the Anxiety Research and Treatment Program, was able to find out through their study that consistent workouts can regulate individuals who tend to panic or physically react (Smits & Otto, 2011).

4. CLASSIFY YOUR THOUGHTS

Writing your thoughts down is one of the widely used grounding exercises. As said by Mina Murray, a fictional character from Bram Stoker’s novel, Dracula, “Journaling is like whispering to one’s self and listening at the same time”. Classifying your thoughts through journaling can help you become aware of triggers or events that set you off: you cannot replace faulty reactions if you cannot identify how you react.

Another anxiety grounding technique is through writing on a blank page the positive thoughts you have. This can help you be reminded that although negative things are happening, there is still goodness.

5. GET HELP

When you feel like you are not in control of your own body or mind, it’s important to acknowledge help. A trained professional at ButlrHealth can help you identify and alleviate certain conditions. Through a therapist, you can learn healthy coping skills so you can eventually apply it whenever certain triggers occur. Anxiety and other negative emotions are treatable and the negative feelings can be alleviated. In calming yourself down, therapy is also one of the best options.

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