Hector and the team at elevate – a fitness and health practice Rittenhouse adjacent – believe in the power of grounding techniques. These can range from simple breathing exercises to meditation. That’s because we encounter many people who admit that they regularly feel anxious.
They probably aren’t among the 40 million (or 18.1%) adults who experience acute anxiety. Those conditions range from generalized to panic disorder to social unease and specific phobias. The stats can be found here.
Still, many more of us experience moments of panic or anxiousness that feel very acute and stressful in everyday situations.
Elizabeth Chang of the Washington Post wrote in her “Lean and Fit” newsletter about wanting to watch violent TV (Squid Games, to be specific) with her family. But she worried that watching would cause her anxiety.
Psychologists point out that our thoughts cause anxiety. We stop thinking clearly. We get unmoored and then don’t stay in present.
The experts suggest that we need to get grounded to get rid of anxiety.
When we’re feeling anxious, it’s tempting to think, “Well, that’s easier said than done.” But Chang pointed readers to the “5-4-3-2-1 Technique.” Clinical trials showed that the technique reduces anxious feelings. (Read how the University of Rochester School of Medicine explains it here).
The technique seemed almost too simple to our fitness and health practice Rittenhouse team. But try it, we found that it works well.
Start by noticing your breathing. And concentrate on taking 3 or 4 slow, deep breaths. Then notice:
- Five things you can see
- Four things you can feel
- Three things you can hear
- Two things you can smell
- One thing you can taste
Being aware of our surroundings brings us back to focusing on the present. We get attuned to what’s here and real, and that reduces your anxiety level.
Fortunately, numerous other simple techniques can help reduce anxiousness. Healthline compiled 30 of them (read them here). Two that we like are:
- Hold an ice cube in your hand. You’ll find it hard to think about anything else.
- Walk and count your steps. Moving and counting forces your mind to be in the present.
Healthline suggests a few additional tips that may be helpful:
- Keep your eyes open when you’re anxious. Doing this keeps you connected to reality.
- Practice the exercises before you have anxiety. Practicing adds the exercises to your “tool kit” of remedies.
- Start reducing anxiety as you begin to have the feelings. It’s tempting to try ignoring the feelings. Sadly, that doesn’t work.