8 Soothing Techniques to Help Relieve Anxiety

Share
Facebook
Twitter
Pinterest
LinkedIn
Email
Print
soothing

The COVID-19 pandemic has made life uncertain for all of us. Try these techniques, from the Connor Integrative Health Network at University Hospitals, to comfort yourself in times of emotional distress. These exercises can help promote good feelings that may help the negative feelings fade or seem less overwhelming.

Picture the Voice or Face of Someone You Love

If you feel upset or distressed, visualize someone positive in your life. Imagine their face or think of what their voice sounds like. Imagine them telling you that the moment is tough, but that you’ll get through it.

Practice Self-Kindness

Repeat kind, compassionate phrases to yourself. Say it either aloud or in your head, as many times as you need.

  • I'm having a rough time, but I’ll make it through.
  • I'm strong, and I can move through this pain.
  • I'm trying hard, and I'm doing my best.

Sit with Your Pet

If you’re at home and have a pet, spend a few moments just sitting with them. If they’re of the furry variety, pet them, focusing on how their fur feels. Focus on their markings or unique characteristics. If you have a smaller pet you can hold, concentrate on how they feel in your hand.

Not at home? Think of your favorite things about your pet or how they would comfort you if they were there.

List Favorites

List three favorite things in several different categories, such as foods, trees, songs, movies, books, places, and so on.

Visualize Your Favorite Place

Think of your favorite place, whether it’s the home of a loved one or a foreign country. Use all of your senses to create a mental image. Think of the colors you see, sounds you hear, and sensations you feel on your skin.

Remember the last time you were there. Who were you with, if anyone? What did you do there? How did you feel?

Plan an Activity

This might be something you do alone or with a friend or loved one. Think of what you’ll do and when. Maybe you’ll go to dinner, take a walk on the beach, see a movie you’ve been looking forward to, or visit a museum. Focus on the details, such as what you’ll wear, when you’ll go, and how you’ll get there.

Touch Something Comforting

This could be your favorite blanket, a much-loved T-shirt, a smooth stone, a soft carpet, or anything that feels good to touch. Think about how it feels under your fingers or in your hand. If you have a favorite sweater, scarf, or pair of socks, put them on and spend a moment thinking about the sensation of the fabric on your skin.

List Positive Things

Write or mentally list four or five things in your life that bring you joy, visualizing each of them briefly.

Listen to Music

Put on your favorite song, but pretend you’re listening to it for the first time. Focus on the melody and lyrics (if there are any). Does the song give you chills or create any other physical sensations? Pay attention to the parts that stand out most to you.

Additional Tips

Grounding yourself isn’t always easy. It may take some time before the techniques work well for you, but don’t give up on them.

How to get the most out of these techniques:

  • Practice. It can help to practice grounding even when you aren’t dissociating or experiencing distress. If you get used to an exercise before you need to use it, it may take less effort when you want to use it to cope in the moment.
  • Start early. Try doing a grounding exercise when you first start to feel bad. Don’t wait for distress to reach a level that’s harder to handle. If the technique doesn’t work at first, try to stick with it for a bit before moving on to another.
  • Avoid assigning values. For example, if you’re grounding yourself by describing your environment, concentrate on the basics of your surroundings, rather than how you feel about them.
  • Check in with yourself. Before and after a grounding exercise, rate your distress as a number between 1 and 10. What level is your distress when you begin? How much did it number between 1 and 10. What level is your distress when you begin? How much did it decrease after the exercise? This can help you get a better idea of whether a particular technique is working for you.
  • Keep your eyes open. Avoid closing your eyes, since it’s often easier to remain connected to the present if you’re looking at your current environment.

Grounding techniques can be powerful tools to help you cope with distressing thoughts in the moment. But the relief they provide is generally temporary.

Related Links

UH Connor Integrative Health Network has remote appointment options that allow you to continue to manage your health safely from the comfort of your own home. Call 216-877-8577 to learn more about our virtual options for acupressure, stress management, integrative health consults and more.

RELATED LINKS

UH Connor Integrative Health Network has remote appointment options that allow you to continue to manage your health safely from the comfort of your own home. Call 216-877-8577 to learn more about our virtual options for acupressure, stress management, integrative health consults and more.

Share
Facebook
Twitter
Pinterest
LinkedIn
Email
Print
Subscribe
RSS
Back to Top