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  • Rachel Brislane

3 Ways To Ground Yourself When Overwhelmed

Grounding exercises are helpful in times of stress, heightened anxiety and overwhelm. When your mind becomes lost in anxious thoughts or worries, when you feel stressed or overwhelmed, grounding brings you back to the present moment. Here are a few of my own go-to grounding exercises which I also recommend to my clients. They are short, simple and you can do them anytime, anywhere to regain a sense of calm, clarity, and peace of mind.

1. The ‘5 Things’ exercise

A simple technique you can do anytime, anywhere at multiple times throughout your day which involves slowing down and tuning into your senses of sight, hearing, and touch and focussing your attention on the smaller details that you normally would be too busy to notice.

Look around your environment. First focus your full attention on noticing 5 things you can see. Next focus on noticing 5 things you can hear (being curious as to the sounds you can hear which are close by and those further away). Then notice 5 things you can feel against the surface of your skin. By tuning into your senses and directing your attention in this focussed way, you are reconnecting with your present moment experience and grounding yourself.

A person holding a mug

2. Feel the warmth of your coffee cup

How many cups of tea or coffee do you drink each day? Every time you have one, is an opportunity to ground yourself. This is a great exercise for those sat at a desk for long periods.

Simply hold your mug, cupping it in your hands and focus your full attention on noticing the warmth radiating from it. (Alternatively, you can do this with a cold drink too by noticing the coolness of your glass). You may also want to hold the cup up to your nose and inhale the aroma (you may feel the warmth of the steam rising from the mug against your skin as you do so). Tuning into your sense of smell in this way is

another way you can ground yourself.

3. Take a breath

Breathing triggers the parasympathetic nervous system (the body’s built in relaxation response) and consequently simple breathing exercises are a great way to calm and ground yourself when feeling stressed, anxious or overwhelmed.

Take a breath in through your nose and exhale slowly and gently out of your mouth through pursed lips (as if you are blowing bubbles). As you breathe in your belly should expand (like a balloon being filled with air) and deflate on the exhale. You want to make the exhale longer than the inhale.

I hope you find these techniques helpful. Experiment with them and see which works best for you.


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