What is grounding and how do I do it?

Discover the Power of Grounding: A powerful coping strategy to manage anxiety and overwhelming thoughts, bringing you back to the present moment.

Danielle Nay, AMFT, LPCC
July 27, 2023

One of the tools that I teach my clients to utilize when they are feeling anxious, overwhelmed, stress, and/or disregulated is called grounding. Have you ever felt like your mind/thoughts are racing? Where your mind just gets flooded with one thought after another? The good news is that grounding can be utilized to slow down racing thoughts and manage overwhelming feelings or anxiety because it brings you back to the here-and-now. Grounding can be used to calm down quickly.


Grounding is a coping strategy that can bring us back to the present moment. Oftentimes, we spend a lot of time ruminating and worrying about things from our past or focusing on things that may happen in the future and this takes away from our ability to be present in the moment.  With grounding, you are bringing your attention to what is happening to you physically, either in your body or in your surroundings, instead of being trapped by the thoughts in your mind that are causing you to feel anxious.


One specific grounding technique that I like gets you to use all of your five senses to help you to get back to the present. It starts with you finding a comfortable position, closing your eyes, and taking a couple of deep breaths. Breathe in through your nose (count to 4), out through your mouth (to the count of 4). Now open your eyes and look around you. Name out loud:

           5 – things you can see (you can look within the room and out of the window, this can include 5 colors).
           4 – things you can feel (notice your back making contact with the chair, the ground beneath your feet).
           3 – things you can hear (notice sounds within the room or outside).
           2 – things you can smell.
           1 – thing you can taste. (It might be a good idea to keep a piece of chocolate handy in case you are doing this grounding exercise! You can always leave your chair for this one and when you taste whatever it is that you have chosen, take a small bite and let it swirl around your mouth for a couple of seconds, really savoring the flavor). Take a deep breath to end.

For other helpful grounding tips, please follow me on Instagram @daniellenay.amft.lpcc for weekly tips and topics to move past your trauma and help you live the life you want.

Danielle Nay, AMFT

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