Grounding Exercises to Ease Anxiety and Stress

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Grounding is a way to help bring you back to the present, and can be helpful when you're dealing with stress or anxiety.  Try these exercises to find what helps make you feel the most grounded.

Walking

Walking is a simple activity that can help bring you back to the present moment.  As you walk, really focus on the feeling of your feet against the ground, and take in the sounds and sights of what's around you.  

Mindful Shower

Water can be wonderful for helping with grounding, which is why practicing mindfulness in the shower is a great option.  Be sure to leave any electronics outside the bathroom so you aren't distracted, and really focus on the sensations of the water hitting your skin and the process of cleaning your body.  Pay attention to the sounds of the water.

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Warm Drink

Warm drinks can be fantastically soothing and a great way to ground yourself.  Make yourself a warm cup of tea or hot chocolate, and really focus on the sensation of the mug in your hands and the feeling of warmth as you sip.

 

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Gardening

Using your hands and digging in the earth can be super grounding, plus you're also exposed to being in nature.  What's more is that the process of growing something can be great for your mental health.  If you're unable to have your own garden, even taking care of indoor plants can be beneficial.

Body Scan

A body scan meditation allows you to focus on all the different sensations and feelings in the different areas of your body, bringing you back into your body.  We recommended following a guided body scan like Body Scan Meditation from Stop Think and Breathe or Yoga By Candace's 5-Minute Body Scan Meditation.

 

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Barefoot Grounding

Also known as earthing, standing barefoot on the ground can help you feel more connected.  Try slipping your shoes off and walking through your backyard or at a local beach, really paying attention to the sensations on your feet and anchoring all four portions of your feel into the ground.  

Categories Game

Mental "games" can also be helpful for bringing your awareness back to the present. Choose a category like food, countries, or animals and go through each letter of the alphabet, trying to identify an item from that category that starts with each letter.  

Progressive Muscular Relaxation

Progressive muscle relaxation is a way to help release all the tension from your muscles, bringing your body down.  To begin, systematically squeeze a muscle in your body hard for 5 seconds, and then allow it to release. Work from your lower limbs, up through your upper body, and into your face. 

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Journaling

Though it can be overwhelming when you're feeling anxious, if you're able to, journaling can be a great way to help you feel more grounded.  Try starting with a simple stream of consciousness, where you write down anything and everything that comes to mind.

5-4-3-2-1 Grounding Exercise

This simple exercise is designed to help bring your attention back to the present moment.  Start by naming 5 things you can see around you, followed by 4 things you can touch, 3 things you can hear, 2 things you can smell, and 1 thing you can taste.  This helps you to become more aware of what is happening around you, and can help you to feel more grounded.