Does your life ever seem like a whirlwind that doesn’t allow you to really stop and enjoy anything?

Perhaps it feels like you’re living in a fog, unable to experience life fully, because your mind is constantly being pulled here and there.

You deserve to enjoy your achievements without an annoying mental rush pressing you to move on to the next activity. And there’s a way to do it, even if you have a busy life.

Grounding techniques can help safeguard your mental health from anxiety, panic attacks, and worry. Plus, you’ve already got what it takes to learn these techniques and put them to good use. Here’s how:

Put Your Lungs to Work

When anxiety and stress start to take over, the first thing to be compromised is your breathing. As you may have noticed, your breath becomes quick and shallow when you’re distressed.
This is your autonomic nervous system protecting you by activating the fight-or-flight response. While it is doing its job, you can regain control over your body and ultimately your mind, as well.

When you feel stressed or anxious, stop what you’re doing to focus on your breath. A five-minute break will do the trick. Force yourself to take long, slow breaths. You should see your belly get bigger as you inhale and aim to fill it up.

This will switch off your fight-or-flight response and help you feel like you’re more in the here and now. Racing thoughts can make you feel as though you’re in a whirlwind. Breathing helps you reconnect yourself to the world around you, keeping you feeling rooted.

Take Advantage of Movement

Despite exercise being the ultimate game changer in physical fitness, it’s also a game changer in mental fitness. And you don’t have to lift weights or even have a structured workout regime. All you need to do is get moving.

It’s easy to get stuck inside your own thoughts. Anxiety and stress have a notorious reputation for doing that. Rather than fight fire with fire, take a sideways approach by recruiting your body.
It’s as simple as going for a walk or run. Do some stretches or yoga poses. You can even do jumping jacks in your living room. Engaging in physical activity reveals a pathway for your body and mind to connect.

The point of these exercises isn’t to tone or strengthen your muscles. More than anything, it’s to help you process stress better and prevent you from being sucked into its downward spiral.

See the Bigger Picture, Literally

All around you is natural refuge. Perhaps in your busy life, you miss it. Nevertheless, it’s still there, and it’s ready for you to enjoy.

I’m talking about nature.

If you’re like most people, you feel better after a stroll through the park. That feeling doesn’t just happen haphazardly. Nature is well-known for bringing even the most outrageously stressful feelings and thoughts into perspective.

It does this by connecting you to the grander picture, something larger than yourself. To adopt nature as a grounding technique in your own life, find a favorite spot—perhaps along the beach or in the mountains–and visit often.

Whether it’s the park, a nature trail, or your back yard, make a point to go and visit it when you feel oncoming stress and anxiety. Focus on the sights, sounds and smells around you. Allow them to invigorate your senses and bring tranquility to your mind.

Take the first step…

If you are ready to address your anxiety issues and how they may be affecting your life, I would like to help. Please contact me via phone or email so we can discuss how we might work together to achieve your therapeutic goals as quickly and effectively as possible.

I look forward to hearing from you.

Linda K. Laffey, MFT

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