Anxiety, worry, helplessness, etc. are rooted in the past or future; these grounding techniques help return you to the present moment. Right here, right now where the memories, the challenging emotions, the worry do not exist. Right here, right now, you are safe. Once you regulate your nervous system with one of these or other grounding tools you may find that you can face whatever was on your mind with more resilience and clarity or you may actually stop thinking about it altogether for the time being.
Grounding Tools for Overwhelm
#1 Sensing your environment - see what’s around you, feel what you can touch, hear sounds, smell aroma, and become absorbed in your external environment.
#2 Box Breathing with/without retention - regulate your breathing by making your inhale and exhale the same length (ie. all to a count of 4). Some of you may retain/hold your breath for the same length of time but for some holding the breath can amplify the challenging emotions so choosing what is best for you and dropping the practice at any time.
#3 Connecting with what is supporting you - feel your feet on the ground or sit bones connecting to whatever you are supported by. Bring your full attention to either your feet, your sit bones, or press your hands into something solid. Stay with this awareness of support and connection for as long as you need.
#4 Finger-focused breathing -take the pointer finger of one hand and place it at the base of the thumb on the other hand. As you inhale trace your finger up the side of your thumb, as you exhale trace your finger down the other side. Inhale up the pointer finger, exhale down. Continue until you’ve done all 5 fingers and switch to the other hand if you’d like.