Mental Health Monday | RachelPoli.com

How I Use the Grounding Technique for Panic Attacks

Everyone experiences different levels of anxiety. It makes each of us feel a different way. One method of dealing with it may work for one person, but it may not work well with another.

With that said, I’m going to explain what I do to get myself through a panic attack. If you haven’t heard of this method, feel free to try it next time an attack hits you. I hope it helps.

PLEASE TAKE NOTE: I am not a mental health professional. I speak about my own experiences with mental health but it should not be taken as medical advice. This is just a safe space for all to check in with one another. If you are having a hard time or have medical questions, please seek help through your doctor. Thank you.

Mental Health Monday: How I use the Grounding Technique for Panic Attacks | Mental Health Matters | Fight the Stigma | Mental Health | RachelPoli.com

When I first began having panic attacks, I didn’t know what I was supposed to do. I always just let it pass. Then my therapist told me about worry stones and I started carrying one of those around with me. I always hold and rub it whenever I get nervous or feel my anxiety coming. I also would find someplace cold. Sometimes I would sit on the bathroom floor, touching the tile or splash cold water on my face.

But then I heard about the grounding technique, where you “ground” yourself and, more or less, talk yourself out of a panic attack.

54321 grounding technique

The point of the grounding technique is to remind yourself of where you are and that you’re in a safe space based on your senses. The reason the numbers are part of it is to think of multiple things and also count backward in some way.

For example, think of five things that you can see, four things you touch, three things you can hear, two things you can smell, and one thing you can taste.

I don’t do it exactly in this way. As I said earlier, I typically will find a cold spot, which is usually the bathroom. There’s not much to hear, smell, or taste in there. So, I do the grounding technique but I just think about what I have in the room with me at present.

The way I do the grounding technique

I will do the grounding technique in a similar manner.

Usually, when I have a panic attack my vision fails me. So, I can’t actually see anything and if I move, I’ll most likely pass out. So, I imagine the room and where I am in general. For example, if I’m in my bathroom, I’m also in my house.

When I start to feel a panic attack coming on, I’ll splash some cold water on my face and if that doesn’t help, I sit down on the ground. With my worry stone in hand, I’ll close my eyes and begin reciting the grounding technique to myself.

I remind myself of where I am and that it’s a safe place. I’ll remind myself that my sister and parents are in the other room (or somewhere around the house), but the point is that I’m not alone. Sometimes I can hear them in the other room.

If I’m anywhere else, I’ll see if my dog or cat happens to be nearby and I’ll give them a pet, which, in addition to my worry stone, helps me with the “touch” sense.

It’s not too different from the 54321 method, but it helps me and I tend to get out of my attacks faster. I hope it helps you too.

Are there any methods you use to get out of panic attacks? Let me know in the comments below.

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7 thoughts on “How I Use the Grounding Technique for Panic Attacks

  1. I read about grounding processes related to Nature in my research. I’ve tried them a few times in my life (it’s been a while), and I incorporated it into my novel Mystical Greenwood.

  2. I don’t do that exactly, but I do something sort of similar. The main difference being that the room I go to doesn’t matter – I’ve even used the garden as my place to escape – as long as I can have some space from everyone else (no other people… Pets are fine) and I don’t count objects, but instead give myself something to figure out in my head, whether that be a difficult maths problem, a solution to the organization of something, a list of certain kinds of items, etc. Basically anything that will serve as enough of a mental distraction to help me forget the source of the anxiety. If I can escape when the anxiety is mild enough, even just spending some time alone with one of the petkids, with no other humans in the immediate area, and using giving them attention as the distraction can help.

    • That’s a great way to do it. The pets really do help a lot. My animals can be a bit oblivious at times but they love cuddling which is great.

  3. Great post. I have a lovely smooth tumblestone I use to calm me, just the familiar contours of it is all I need to bring down my anxiety when it’s too high.

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