Many people are hitting that time during the semester that they become overwhelmed with their courses. Many are fearful that they won't pass their exams or the classes. Maybe some are winding down their senior year and still do not know what their future holds. Maybe they have recently lost a loved one. No matter your struggle, these techniques can help you. Sometimes just taking a moment out of your day to refocus can provide a sense of peace. Anxiety can come in waves during life, but my hope is that you can use some of these methods to keep the difficult moments at bay.
Grounding is sunk in the 5 senses. It is about things you touch, hear, smell, see, and sometimes tastes. It takes your mind off of your immediate worries and turns the attention to your current and present moment. When our body begins to feel overwhelmed, our defense responses are triggered and feels like we are in danger. We can utilize these techniques to calm our bodies and minds to return to life. The options I am going to list are just the ones that I find effective, but there are many more options that might work best for others.
1) The 5-4-3-2-1
This grounding technique basically suggest that you think of 5 things you can see, 4 things you can feel, 3 things you can hear, 2 things you can smell, and 1 thing you can taste. I find that it helps me if I say them out loud, rather than just saying them in my head, since my mind can wander. Prior to describing these items, I like to take a few deep breaths in my nose and out through my mouth.
2) Colors of distraction
Look around you and locate as many items of one color as you can find. You can go through as many colors as you can find around you until you feel consoled.
3) Place your energy elsewhere
Many of y'all have probably seen Grey's Anatomy. Think back to an early season where Meredith and Christina "dance it out." Crank up some music, preferably an upbeat song, and dance all of that pent up energy out. I like to use running as my channeling, but even cleaning can help. Cleaning is probably the most productive, but I will be honest, that is usually a last resort for me!
I have found that sometimes I will count my steps as I walk. I will also count backwards by 7s from 100 until I feel calmer. Counting is one of the most common forms of grounding to date. It is also why many tell you to count sheep before sleep, it alleviates the racing mind, allowing it to relax.
5) Pick up an item near you
Hold an item in your hand. Focus only on it, breathing deep in and out. Think about its size, its texture, its material, and color.
6) Use an anchoring phrase
This is a great technique if you find yourself rethinking about events from your past. It would go something like, "My name is... I am X years old, the year is.. I live in city, state, today is blank, and I am sitting in my chair at the library." It is helpful to remove yourself from the memory and replace yourself in the present.
7) Visualize your favorite place
This can be transitioned into a safe place in your mind. My safe place was a room by the beach, a comfy couch with blankets, and I was surrounded by books. Sometimes I like to picture myself at Disney World. This can be anything that is a relaxing or calming place for you that is connected with peacefulness.
These are a few of my favorite techniques that I found helpful when I struggle. It will be helpful for you to practice these techniques before you find yourself in a difficult moment, and it may also be beneficial to check in with yourself prior to being in a full fledged moment of panic. Grounding a powerful tool to have in your belt. It is only a temporary fix in the moment, if you think you are need of more long term help, then I urge you to seek professional advice. There is nothing wrong with seeking help outside of your immediate circle. I hope these techniques can help you in moments of need.