Yes, I am going to talk about breathing. In, out, in, out. Good. Next paragraph.
Lol. No. Breathing, in a helpful, therapy, way is linked to the mindfulness discussed previously. Actually notice it. Notice if you breath into your chest or down into your stomach. Notice the change in temperature between the out breath and the in breath. Slow your breathing down. Pause at the top of the in breath. Count to 5 in, 3 on the pause, 5 out. Just treat your breathing mindfully – notice it.
Grounding is a quick strategy to get your head back to the now. I describe it as forcing your brain to focus on the immediate environment to stop your head imagining all the things that could happen (all the what ifs and maybes).
The grounding exercise I use is 3 steps.
- What’s five things you can see right now (e.g. my computer, a lamp, a water bottle, my phone, a Dr Who potato head on my desk)
- What’s five things I can hear (e.g. people talking in the corridor, my keyboard clacking, the hum of my computer, the whoosh of air conditioning, a car driving past the building)
- What’s five things I can feel on the outside of my body (e.g. the collar of my shirt, the weight of the ring on my finger, the pressure of one foot on the floor, the pressure of the sitting on the seat, the feeling of my boot around my ankle)
The important part of this is to take as long as you need. If it takes your brain 1 minute to find 5 things it can hear… awesome! That’s one minute it is not thinking about ‘what ifs’ and instead focusing on the here and now. On the feel thing? Make sure it is outside of body. If your 5 feelings include “hungry, angry, nervous, my heart racing”… not helpful. Outside of body. Outside.