• Meg Josephson, LCSW

Grounding Technique

Panic attack coming or feeling extremely overwhelmed?

Grounding is a simple but effective therapeutic technique to keep in mind when anxiety hits. For those who have experienced a wave of anxiety or the dreaded anxiety attack, it’s an awful feeling and has been described as “the feeling of a heart attack, an out of body experience, feeling completely numb, in a dream etc…”


Start here, by acknowledging:

- 5 things you can see

- 4 things you can touch

- 3 things you can hear

- 2 things you can smell

- 1 thing you can taste

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Everyone experiences anxiety attacks somewhat differently, but most people feel a loss of control and a dislocation from reality. Don’t worry about remembering the order of the steps above or if you forget one, the point is to orient yourself back to the “here and now” using calming affirmations to remind yourself that you are safe and in control. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⁣

Last night, I was reading the novel “Salt Houses” by Hala Alyan, and came across a perfect example of someone “grounding” themselves. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⁣

It says: “If left unaddressed the whirring threatens to become torrential, threatening to spill over into tears as it did those years after the war. And so . . . Atef quietly recites ‘it is Spring. He has a lovely home. He has three healthy children and a wife. It is his elder daughter’s birthday today and he is going to buy strawberries for her…” ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⁣

Then he reflects, “ This remembering, this gentle recitation, calms him, gives him something to focus on. These are facts, the obelisks of his life, and gleaned, they flow for him—sturdy, true, his.”