During the COVID-19 Pandemic, negative feelings and emotions have increased. With having to be in the house for days on end, the mental health field has seen an increase in people's emotions and triggers being heightened. If you are someone who has feelings of distress that may be attributable to:
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
Grounding may help! Grounding can help lessen your feelings of trauma and anxiousness and allows you to refocus yourself on what is happening presently.
What is Grounding? Grounding is a therapeutic activity that creates a “bonding” moment between your spiritual, mental, and physical being. Grounding techniques allow you to focus on your HERE & NOW! Whether this means focusing on an item, on your breathing, or on a tiny little dot you found on the carpet. Grounding is a coping skill that allows you to GET OUT OF YOUR HEAD, and into space, where you feel calmer and connected to your surroundings. In this article, we will explore one type of grounding activity called “spotting”. We will also explore some emotions, thoughts, and ways to identify if grounding is the technique for you. Lastly, we will explore some of the challenges and benefits of using grounding techniques.
When to use Grounding: There are many different physical and emotional signs that can present itself to you. Some emotional signs of distress may feel/look like:
Feeling overwhelmed or overanxious
recurring/ unwanted flashbacks or memories
Having negative thoughts or
disassociating yourself from the present.
Some physical signs of distress may feel/look like:
Shortness of breath
Heart racing / Racing thoughts
Shaking/ trembling or
You may be surprised at this but you have done a grounding exercise before. Don’t believe me?
Remember that time you felt so overwhelmed that you may have forgotten to eat for hours? Or what about that time you were so anxious and nervous for that interview or test? Remember the “I am going to pass out” speech? What about “I need to sit down” or “I need air”? The slow breaths you took while getting air aligned you with your surrounding and your human form. See… You have tried this before! Grounding allows you to be in closer contact with your physical environment and incorporate your surroundings into your grounding moment.
Here is a technique that you can self-administer when feeling flustered:
Have you ever become dizzy while on the dance floor? All of the spins and turns, and the BOOM! Dizziness. That is because you did not SPOT! Spotting is focusing on a specific item or material within your proximity that you can just gaze at. Something that captives you, or maybe something that you absolutely hate in your environment that you sit there and question it for 3 minutes. You can use anything to spot.
Why the Spotting Technique? Because it's easy! Here are some simple steps to help your Spotting technique.
Place feet firmly on the ground. (You can also do this sitting down!)
Find an item. (A picture, a crack in the wall, literally anything)
Focus on the spot you chose. (Try not to take your eyes off of it)
Remember to breathe! (Breathe in through your nose (Count to 4) & out through your mouth)
Come back to your current space
Challenges: One challenge that can present itself during spotting is being unable to focus. Whether that is because your heart or mind is still racing, or you feel silly for staring at a particular item, one way to challenge yourself is to monitor one of your symptoms. For example, if your heart is racing, as you are spotting, focus on the beat of your heart. Really allow yourself to feel your body responding to your surroundings. Another challenge may be being unable to control your body and thoughts. Understanding that quieting our body and mind can be hard. Sometimes, your emotions can heighten when trying to calm your body and thoughts down. Allow yourself to just focus on the spot you chose and be present with your body and environment.
Did Grounding Work for you?
As you finish your groundging work, try and be mindful of where and what your body was feeling before and after grounding. For example, if you began your grounding technique when you were having a shortness of breath, ask yourself “How am I breathing now? Is there anything different? Is my breathing still shallow or deep?” See how grounding works for you! If you like spotting as a grounding exercise, there are a lot of different grounding techniques out there. Here is some reading materials to help you explore grounding/mindfulness further:
Why You should Try Mindfulness https://www.therapyinphiladelphia.com/tips/why-you-should-try-mindfulness-in-2021
4-7-8 Breathing Techniquehttps://www.therapyinphiladelphia.com/tips/4-7-8-breathing-technique-the-biology-of-calming-down
If you’re struggling with any of these concepts and exercises, individual therapy can help. You can reach out to one of our therapists and schedule an appointment by clicking here or calling 215-922-LOVE