March - "Hold On" Grounding Technique
Many folks use the 5,4,3,2,1 Coping Technique for Anxiety as a grounding meditation when dealing with anxiety, stress, or attempting to center themselves in some fashion. And it works great, for them.
Sometimes though, the intensity of what you’re feeling is so overwhelming that even a simple 5 step process is “too much” on top of everything else. It doesn’t mean you’re no good at it or that meditation or grounding won’t work at all for you, it just means that this method isn’t right for your needs right now.
So Hold On:
Grab an object at hand: Any object or have a pre-selected object that evokes strong associations with comfort and/or happy or safe/soothing memories and feelings.
Hold that object in your hand, as you work on slowing your breathing - notice how rapid it is right now? Take a beat longer to push out some more air as you exhale and another beat longer to draw in some more air when you inhale - add a couple of beats on either end and a few in between the inhale and exhale as you go along - don’t try to count them just try to let them come more naturally as you shift your mental focus to that object in your hand. It’s OK to struggle with this at first, but try not to let yourself get caught up in worrying whether or not you’re “breathing right”. If you find yourself leaning in that direction, remind yourself that you’re still breathing, period, and that’s the most important thing.
Now back to that object. Feel its weight in your hand, allow your fingers to explore the texture of it, absorb the sensations it brings with it, is it warm to the touch, cool, bumpy, smooth, rough, does it have a scent or does it seem odorless to you? As you absorb each sensation, name them, whether aloud or in your mind - many find it helpful to vocalize the descriptors - others prefer to internalize it, whichever works best for you. The longer you hold it, start adding more details to your vocal or internal description of this object. Imagine yourself telling someone who’s never seen it what it looks and feels like - no need to describe its use - you’re just telling them what shape and feel it has in this world.
Once you feel ready - this is in your own time, you don’t have to have a set time limit for this - close your eyes as you continue to hold the object and have slowed your breathing to a comfortable rhythm, picture that object you’re holding in your mind and call to mind or vocalize all of the aspects of it you’ve just described to yourself before. Now weave in the emotional aspects of what this object brings to mind , for example: it’s your TV remote and you can feel the especially worn down places where you click most often and can visualize and feel the anticipation as you turn on the TV to see the latest episode of your favorite show. Or it’s a souvenir keychain from a past vacation - and it evokes happy comforting memories of sun and sand and laughter - what you choose is up to you.
You will have moments when the anxiety or intrusive thoughts crowd in, demanding your attention. It doesn’t mean it’s not working, it will take time and practice to train yourself to step into this calming space when you’re feeling overwhelmed. When the thoughts intrude, say aloud or in your mind, “I’m feeling X but right now I’m looking at/thinking about my keychain”. Please don’t berate yourself if you have to say this a lot at first. The simple thing is, you are trying and it’s OK to struggle when learning a new task.
And if at any time that object you’re using becomes “too familiar” and doesn’t have the same impact - choose another. They don’t have to be special or hold special meaning - every day objects will do fine. The “session” ends when you want it to, when you feel ready. And if you don’t feel ready, continue it for as long as you need to, 5-10-30 min more, whatever helps you through the moment.
Discover the Healing Power of Nature with Grounding Practices for Every Season.
Get in touch with the earth! This hands-on guide will help you deepen your innate bond with nature and feel more centered, focused, creative, and vibrantly alive.
Meditation Yoga Charms
Click to view Collection