The more work you do on yourself before things happen, the easier it will be for you to move through difficult times.– Gabby Bernstein
While feeling worried or restless is perfectly normal, sometimes we face life situations that make it difficult to control our worries.
While we can’t choose circumstances in life, we can equip ourselves with the proper grounding techniques for anxiety to help navigate challenges.
Gabby Bernstein, a New York Times best-selling author and motivational speaker, has been teaching her readers how to resolve traumas and attain inner peace for over 16 years. She personally has been in deep grief due to the loss of her unborn baby.
What Is Anxiety?
Anxiety is a feeling of unease, worry, fear, and restlessness. It can be mild or severe, affecting everyone at some point in their lives.
For example, most people feel uneasy and anxious about passing an exam, having a job interview, or undergoing medical treatment.
On top of that, more and more individuals experience technostress, a modern disease of adaptation caused by an inability to cope with new computer technologies. Especially nowadays, being forced to work from home, we have to deal with multiple technologies. And some people feel stressed and overwhelmed.
If not appropriately addressed, it can turn into:
- Panic disorder
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
- Social anxiety disorder
What Causes Anxiety?
The exact causes of anxiety disorders are unknown. According to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), it can be a combination of genetic and environmental factors. These may include:
- Overactivity in areas of the brain involved in emotions and behavior
- An imbalance of the brain chemicals serotonin and noradrenaline, which are involved in the control and regulation of mood
- The genes you inherit from your parents
- Having a history of stressful or traumatic experiences, such as domestic violence, child abuse, or bullying
- Having a painful long-term health condition, such as arthritis
- Having a history of drug or alcohol misuse
There is no small trauma as every trauma has a lingering effect.– Gabby Bernstein
If not addressed, it can also lead to other mental issues and physical conditions, such as:
- Depression (which often occurs with an anxiety disorder) or other mental health disorders
- Substance misuse
- Trouble sleeping (insomnia)
- Digestive or bowel problems
- Headaches and chronic pain
- Social isolation
- Problems functioning at school or work
- Poor quality of life
What Is Grounding?
Grounding means earthing. It is a therapeutic technique designed to reconnect you to the Earth electrically.
It is based on earthing sciences and grounding physics which reveal a positive environmental factor on health.
Scientific research has shown that direct physical contact with the vast supply of electrons on the surface of the Earth promotes your overall health and well-being.
The Earth’s negative potential stabilizes the internal bioelectrical environment for the normal functioning of all body systems and regulates cortisol secretion.
According to this study, grounding the human body positively affects sleep, pain, and stress.
Grounding techniques also help with mental health issues such as:
- Post-traumatic stress disorder
- Self-harm urges
- Traumatic memories
- Substance use disorder
- Eating disorders
What are grounding techniques?
In a broader sense, grounding techniques are practices that help distract you from your distressing feelings or negative thoughts and refocus on what’s happening in the present moment. These anxiety-calming methods are designed to return you to your physical body.
If you aren’t safe within, you can’t show up in the world in a healthy way.– Gabby Bernstein
When you experience an anxiety attack, it’s the feeling of unsafety that makes you anxious at the core of it. The harder you try to control it, the worse it gets.
To help your anxiety, you want to create a sense of comfort to feel more in control of the situation. This is why grounding techniques for anxiety focus on shifting from distressing feelings to your physical body.
Gabby Bernstein’s Proven (and Quick) Techniques to Calm Anxiety
Gabby Bernstein explains that we all experience some unresolved trauma underneath the surface.
It’s crucial to create a safe internal landscape to be able to resolve it and navigate difficult situations in life.
In a conversation on The Mindvalley Podcast, she shared three grounding techniques for anxiety.
1. EFT for anxiety
EFT tapping therapy stands for “Emotional Freedom Technique” which utilizes specific meridian points of the body to release negative emotions. Neurologically speaking, when you do tapping, you message your amygdala that you are safe.
This particular technique grounds you in a full-body experience of support and safety.
How to do it:
- Tap between a ring finger and a pinky finger, continuously saying to yourself, “I am safe.”
- Repeat it more and more during the day.
2. Heart-space connection
It’s a powerful practice to fully ground yourself and keep yourself in a safe space. It helps you drop into your heart space and shift from your anxious thoughts almost instantly.
How to do it:
- Place your right hand on your heart and your left hand on your belly.
- Close your eyes for a moment.
- Take a deep breath and let it go.
3. Write down your trigger
Becoming aware of your triggers is the first step to facing an unaware trauma. When you get triggered, it’s always a symptom of the underlying trauma. Gabby recommends writing down your trigger by asking these questions:
- What’s my trigger?
- How does it make me feel?
- Where do I feel it in my body?
- What do I do to respond? How do I avoid it?
Other Ways to Calm Anxiety
If you’re dealing with mild anxiety, you can combat it on your own, without external medical support. These grounding techniques for anxiety are the most common to help you create a sense of comfort and feel more in control.
The 5-4-3-2-1 Technique
This technique helps you focus on the world around you. For each step, identify…
- 5 things you can see
- 4 things you can feel
- 3 things you can hear
- 2 things you can smell
- 1 thing you can taste
As you focus on these things, your mind will be less focused on distressing thoughts. It will also help slow your heart rate and control your breathing.
The Havening Technique
Havening is a great grounding technique for anxiety as well as stress associated with traumatic memories. It uses a simple touch called Havening touch, activation, and distraction.
The Havening Technique steps:
- Recall traumatic memory
- Rub arms, palms, and face (using Havening touch)
- Create a distraction by visualizing activities and counting
Prior to the three steps, you want to scale your response to the memory from 1-10, where one is feeling calm and confident, and 10 is feeling fear and anxiety.
After the session, you want to scale your response again to see if the trauma is completely gone or diminished.
10 natural ways to ground yourself:
- Play with a pet
- Focus on your breath and breathe deeply
- Write down a list of positive thoughts or memories
- Make yourself laugh
- Take a short walk
- Touch something around you
- Feel your body
- Listen to your surroundings
- Describe what’s around you
- Visualize yourself in your favorite place
- Move your body to your favorite music
Although we cannot undo our genes or change the environment, we can resolve our traumas to live without anxiety — one trauma at a time.
It’s not an overnight treatment but an ongoing journey of transformation. And there’s nothing more rewarding than being on this journey of self-healing and liberation.
The more you focus on your inner landscape, the more resilient you will become towards any external turbulences in life.
And if you want to immerse yourself in perpetual growth, join Mindvalley Membership which gives you access to all quests and live calls with the most renowned authors and speakers, such as Gabby Bernstein. By the way, you can ask your questions directly to a guest speaker during these exclusive calls.
Most importantly, you will have a tribe of like-minded people supporting your journey and serving as an inspiration.
Perhaps, you are the inspiration someone needs. Welcome in.
Photo credits: @gabbybernstein / Instagram