Some quick ways to calm down. Have you heard of grounding techniques?
I really want to start this one by saying, I'm not an expert in this at all, in fact I only heard of grounding techniques this week. If you're feeling particularly anxious and overwhelmed you should absolutely talk to your doctor or get in touch with a specialist charity for support. That said, as someone who's been fortunate enough not to suffer with anxiety or ever really feeling particularly emotionally overwhelmed throughout my life, I experienced a first this week in my counselling session and it really helped. So I wanted to share it, in case there are others out there like me that have been thrown a curve ball and are facing overwhelming emotions and anxieties for the first time or maybe you know somebody who is that could find this useful.
I started counselling two weeks ago and in my first two sessions I've found them to be incredibly emotional, but helpful too. Apart from discovering that it's manageable to do in writing, I don't find it particularly easy to engage with my emotions or to allow myself to be vulnerable and certainly not in front of other people. So getting an hour a week where I know I'm not going to have wear a brave face and can talk through things, process things and understand things that I didn't even know about myself is quite a good release.
At the end of my most recent session, we were close to finishing but I was still quite tearful and full of emotion, when my counsellor said she'd like to take me through a grounding technique to help calm me down. It worked, after a few minutes I was much calmer and we were able to finish the session without me being in too bad a place. It made me wonder if there were other grounding techniques (in fact Healthline have a blog that shares 30 grounding techniques), it also made me realise that there might be others out there that could use these but may not have heard of them.
The 5,4,3,2,1 Exercise
This is the technique that my counsellor used with me in my last session and it focuses on using your senses to bring you back in to the present. Working back from 5 to 1 you have to take a sense and engage with it asking yourself to do the following.
Name 5 things you can see
Name 4 things you can touch (and touch them)
Name 3 things you can hear
Name 2 things you can smell
Name 1 thing you can taste
You can do these in any order, but I wouldn't suggest starting with taste, unless you're sat in front of a box of chocolates. This exercise really calmed me down and I'll definitely be using it in the future.
What About Other Grounding Techniques?
As I mentioned at the start I'm no expert in grounding techniques, but I am pretty good at googling things, so just having a look through the first few things that returned I have pulled out another couple of simple techniques that I might give a go in the future, I've also linked the titles to the sources in case you want to read more.
I suppose it's called this because boxes have 4 sides and the idea is that you have 4 breathing actions. Breathe in for 4 seconds, hold for 4 seconds, breathe out for 4 seconds and then hold for 4 seconds. Repeat and continue this until you feel as though you've calmed.
This is another one that I thought seemed simple enough and reasonable for anybody to try. For this technique pick a category, anything you want and just try to list as many items as you can that fall within that category. So it could be list as many countries as possible, or, name as many Jim Carey movies you can think of.
I'm convinced that counselling is going to be something that helps me to process the loss that Molly and I have suffered, but I've never been so engaged in feeling negative emotions. So, I've no doubt that it's going to continue to cause me high levels of distress and anxiety, but, I've survived the sessions so far and if my counsellor keeps providing me with nuggets like these then I know I'll get through the rest of them too.
Thanks for reading and being a part of our journey!