There are so many different ways to describe how it feels to be anxious. One I recently heard was particularly powerful: being anxious feels like you are a balloon that’s been let go from its string, floating and without direction.
To me, this captured that sense of powerlessness and disconnection that comes from feeling really overwhelmed. So, what can we do when we feel like the floor drops out from under us? GET GROUNDED. Grounding is a simple, effective technique that combats the feeling of emotional drift.
Simply put, it involves planting your feet firmly on the ground, or your hands firmly on a table in front of you, or your body firmly on a seat – WITH INTENTION. You make yourself aware of how your feet feel on the ground or the temperature and texture of the table feel under your hands, or the way the seat you’re in is supporting your body. You bring your attention back to the moment. This simple act does exactly what you need when you feel unsteady: it roots you to the spot - the opposite of how it feels when you’re floating. Grounding can also be interactive, which can help with a worried child – giving a hug, using a weighted blanket, or holding a favorite stuffed animal can all help provide stability and comfort.
When you are grounded you are more secure, you are steadier, and your thoughts and feelings can come into greater focus. It is about being in that place at that moment. Once you are grounded, your emotions settle, and you are in a position to think more clearly. And you know what that means… a new strategy, less worry, and more smiles.