Grounding skills for anxiety and PTSD
Just as exercises are a bit more complex than techniques, skills are a bit more complex than exercises. They are something that you develop over the course of time but they also provide you with entertainment and it’s much easier to plunge into them and lose track of time. As you will read below, the basic grounding principles still apply, you still perform actions that will bring you and ground you in the moment, only this time is a whole set of skills that you can develop and that you might actually find fun.
1. Start doing sports
Doing sports is sure to bring you in the moment, since you have to pay attention to your movements and actions, especially if it is your first time trying the sport. Physical sports have an advantage here because it’s much easier to ground yourself in the moment when you are trying to execute a movement perfectly. Learning to dance can also be of great help, since usually dance steps require doing strictly defined moves at exact times. This alone requires a great deal of coordination which in turn will force you to stay in the moment. As time passes, your mind will get used to being constantly aware of your body and muscle movements and it will be harder for your thoughts to drift to negative anxious cycles. Going for practice when the negative thoughts have already started building up will also help you break the cycle and let you clear you head. There is also the fact that exercising will help your brain bring your hormones back in balance and flush your system with dopamine. When it comes to mental sports, chess is one sport that you can try, since the huge amount of attention that you need to pay will divert your thoughts away from anything else.
2. Pick up a hobby
Hobbies can be a great way to pass the time while learning something new. Simply choose something that you are passionate about or If nothing comes to mind, pick something that you might want to try or learn more about. In terms of anxiety, hobbies will help you relax while you are doing something that you are familiar with and it will keep you occupied. Knitting is a great example of a hobby that both relaxes you and keeps your hands busy. It is also quite cheap to start. Collecting just about anything can also work wonders for you, since paying attention to objects will help you focus on what is in front of you and it won’t let your thoughts stray away.
3. Get a pet
Pets provide an immense anchor to the present in two ways. The emotional bond that you create with your pet will comfort you once the cycle of thoughts begins. Think of it as a grounding object that you love, in the form of a dog or a cat. Second, it might be considered a hobby as well because of the constant care that you need to provide for the pet. Having to keep in mind that you need to feed or walk your pet will constantly bring you back to the present moment. If you do not have an environment suitable to keep a pet like a dog or a cat you can always opt for something smaller like a fish, parrot or a hamster. It’s really up to you, but keep in mind that a dog or a cat will also provide more emotional bond.
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