30 Grounding Methods to Calm Uncomfortable Thoughts

30 Grounding Methods to Calm Uncomfortable Thoughts

Immerse your hands in water.

Consider the temperature of the water and how it feels on your fingertips, palms, and backs of your hands. Is it the same in every portion of your hand?

Warm water should be used first, followed by cold water. Next, try cold water first, followed by warm water. Is it more comfortable to switch from cold to warm water than from warm to cold?

Pick up or touch items in your vicinity

Is what you touch soft or hard? Is it heavier or lighter? Is it hot or cold? Pay attention to the texture and color of each object. Instead of just red or blue, try thinking of specific hues like crimson, burgundy, indigo, or turquoise.

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Deep breathing

Inhale slowly, then exhale slowly. You can say or think “in” and “out” with each breath if it helps. Feel each breath enter your lungs and how it feels to push it out.

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Enjoy a meal or drink

Take little nibbles or sips of a meal or beverage you appreciate, fully tasting each bite. Consider how it tastes and smells, as well as the flavors that remain on your tongue.

Go for a short walk

Pay attention to your steps; you can even count them. Take note of the rhythm of your steps and how it feels to plant your foot and then lift it.

Hold an ice cube

How does it feel at first? How long does it take for the ice to melt? How does the sensation alter as the ice melts?

Indulge in a smell

Do you have a favorite fragrance? A cup of tea, a herb or spice, a favorite soap, or a scented candle could all be included. Slowly and deeply inhale the smell, taking note of its properties (sweet, spicy, citrusy, and so on).

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Get your body moving.

Perform a few stretches or exercises. You could attempt:

Jacks of all trades

bouncing up and down jumping rope jogging in place one by one 

stretching different muscle groups.

Pay attention to your surroundings.

Take a few moments to notice the sounds around you. Do you notice any birds? Barking dogs? Traffic or machinery? What are people saying if you hear them talking? Do you understand the language?

Allow the sounds to wash over you and remind you of your location.

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Listen to your body.

This can be done either sitting or standing. Consider how your body feels from head to toe, paying attention to each component. Consider:

  • the weight of your clothing on your shoulders your hair on your shoulders or your forehead
  • whether your arms are flexible or tight at your sides whether your heartbeat is quick or steady whether your stomach is full or hungry whether your legs are crossed or your feet are flat.
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Attempt the 5-4-3-2-1 approach.

Working backward from 5, make a list of items you notice around you. For example, you could begin by listing:

  • five things you hear four things you see three things you can touch and two things you can smell
  • something that you can taste
  • Make an effort to notice the small details that you might overlook, such as the color of the carpet flecks or the hum of your computer.

Make a memory game.

For 5 to 10 seconds, look at a detailed photograph or picture (such as a cityscape or other “busy” subject). Then, turn the snapshot upside down and mentally reproduce it in as much detail as possible. 

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Consider categorical thinking.

Select one or two broad categories, for example, “musical instruments,” “ice cream flavors,” or “baseball teams.” Take a minute or two to mentally list as many items as you can from each category.

Make use of math and numbers

Even if you’re not a math guy, numbers might help you concentrate on yourself.

Try mentally running through a times table.

backward counting from 100

Choosing a number and imagining five ways to make it (6 + 11 Equals 17, 20 – 3 = 17, 8 2 + 1 = 17, etc.)

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Say anything

Consider a poem, song, or book chapter that you know by heart. Recite it quietly to yourself or mentally.

Focus on the shape of each word on your lips and in your mouth as you say the words aloud. When you say the words in your head, imagine each word as it would appear on a page.

Make yourself chuckle.

Make up a hilarious joke that would fit on a candy wrapper or a popsicle stick. You may also watch a humorous animal video, a clip from a comedian or TV show you adore, or anything else that makes you laugh.

Make use of an anchoring phrase.

This could be something like, “My name is Full Name. My age is X years. I live in the city of State. The date is June 3rd. The time is 10:04 a.m. I’m at work, sitting at my desk. There are no other people in the room.”You can add specifics to the phrase until you feel peaceful, such as “It’s raining lightly, but I can still see the sun.” It’s break time for me. I’m thirsty, so I’ll prepare a cup of tea.”

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Consider a daily chore that you enjoy or don’t mind doing.

Consider how you’d put a finished load of clothes away if you enjoy doing laundry.

“The clothes are warm when they come out of the dryer.” They’re soft yet rigid at the same time. Even though they pour over the top, they feel light in the basket. I’m spreading them out across the bed to avoid wrinkles. “First, I’m folding the towels, shaking them out before folding them into half, then thirds,” and so on.

Describe a typical task.

Consider one activity that you do frequently or well, such as making coffee, shutting up your office, or tuning a guitar. As if you were teaching someone, go through the process step by step.

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Visualize yourself leaving the awful feelings behind.

Walking, swimming, biking, or jogging away from painful feelings your thoughts as a song or TV show you despise, changing the channel or turning down the noise — they’re still there, but you don’t have to listen to them.

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Describe your surroundings

Take a few moments to observe your surroundings and make a mental note of what you see. To convey as much detail as possible, use all five senses.

“This bench is crimson, but across there is green.” Because I’m in the sun, it’s toasty under my jeans. There are no splinters, yet it feels harsh. The air smells strongly of smoke. I hear children laughing.

Consider the voice or appearance of someone you care about.

If you are upset or distressed, envision a positive person in your life. Consider their appearance or the sound of their voice. Imagine someone telling you that the situation is difficult, but that you will get through it.

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Exercise self-kindness.

Repeat to yourself pleasant, empathetic sentences like:

“You’re going through a tough period, but you’ll get through it.”

“You are strong, and you can get through this.”

“You’re trying hard, and you’re doing your best.”

Say it, either aloud or in your head, as many times as you need.

Take a seat with your pet.

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If you have a pet at home, spend some time just sitting with them. Pet them if they’re furry, paying attention to how their fur feels. Consider their markings or distinguishing features. Concentrate on how a tiny pet feels in your palm if you have one.

Favorite items

List three favorite things from each category, such as:







Consider your favorite location.

Consider your favorite location, whether it’s a loved one’s house or a distant country. Imagine the sounds you hear, the objects you see, and the scents you can smell using each of your senses.

Make an exercise plan.

This could be done alone or with a friend or loved one. Consider what you’ll do and when you’ll do it. Maybe you’ll go out to dinner, walk on the beach, see a movie you’ve been anticipating, or visit a museum.

Pay attention to the specifics, such as what you’ll wear, when you’ll go, and how you’ll get there.

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Make contact with something soothing.

This could be a beloved blanket, a well-worn T-shirt, a smooth stone, or anything else that feels wonderful to touch. Consider how it feels between your fingers or in your hand. Put on a favorite sweater, scarf, or pair of socks, and take a moment to appreciate the feel of the fabric on your skin.

Make a list of positives.

Write or mentally list four or five items in your life that offer you delight, briefly seeing each one.