How I Ground Myself in the Moment

How I Ground Myself in the Moment


Sometimes I feel like I am surfing a wave and other times it feels like I am going to get dragged under by the power of the current. Sometimes I feel like the current is uncontrollably strong and I am struggling to keep my head above water at all.  Over the years, I have learnt about things I can do to regain my surf, sense of perspective and calm. With practice, I have become better at managing unhelpful feelings and consciously becoming calm when I need it most.

I would like to share with you the following mini tools that I have used personally and professionally over this time that have helped me a lot:

A Physical Anchor

When talking with a group of senior leaders who were experiencing exhaustion and ongoing stress, I asked them to find a small physical item that had positive memories or meant something positive to them. Once they had identified their object, they held it tightly and closed their eyes, allowing their mind to explore what the item meant to them and what they wanted to think about and feel every time they held it in the future.

The items ranged from a heart keyring to a pendant necklace, a small fridge magnet to a screensaver of a loved one. By identifying a physical item and allowing it to symbolise something constant and positive in our lives, we can use it each time we need a calming, positive energy to ground us in the moment. The more we use an anchor, and the more powerful the positive thought it represents, the more it will act as a grounding tool for us.

Positive Mental Images

When things seem overwhelming, uncertain or negative, it is easy to lose touch with the things that are more positive, constant and psychologically safe. It can be helpful at times like these to pause and encourage ourselves to reconnect mentally with some things that ground us.

The mental images that you come up with can be whatever work for you as long as they are positive, real and meaningful. Examples could be:

  • Something you are grateful for.
  • Someone who cares about you and has your best interests at heart.
  • Your values.
  • A happy memory.

If you have a spare piece of paper handy, you could draw a spider diagram with yourself in the centre and positive things that help ground you around that.


1, 2, 3, 4, 5

This technique is widely used in helping reduce the chances of having a panic attack. I find that it strongly anchors me in my physical place and to the present moment. It’s very simple to try; when you have rising feelings of anxiety or panic, pause for a moment, take a few deep, slow breaths and count:


5 things that you can see. What stands out to you about each of those things? Are they big or small?

4 things that you can hear. Are they loud or quiet? Inside or outside? Who or what is causing them?

3 things that you can feel. What are you touching? What is your body supported by? What can you physically sense?

2 things that you can smell. Are they good or bad? Where are they coming from?

1 thing that you can taste. Is anything standing out to you?


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