Grounding

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notalone

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Grounding
« on: February 02, 2019, 05:59:18 PM »
This is my second attempt to send this message. Even though it isn't that revealing, I still feel vulnerable.

My therapist told me that I need to get better at grounding. I started a "grounding journal," recording what I've tried, how it went, etc. I've used YouTube for breathing and meditation exercises. Breathing is really hard for me. I think that I have spent over 50 years taking shallow breaths. My stomach and chest feel like they are enclosed by an iron cage. I am trying to give myself grace and pats on the back for efforts and small victories. Also am really mad that at the age of 50+ I have to learn how to breathe! Please let me know any tips and helps you have for grounding. Thanks.

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Kat

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Re: Grounding
« Reply #1 on: February 02, 2019, 10:35:37 PM »
I totally get the shallow breathing thing.  I work at a high school and was walking into our main building with a colleague one morning.  She began to cough and gasp for breath.  She asked what was in the air.  That's when I noticed a lot of kids covering their mouths and hustling out of the hall.  Someone had sprayed a bunch of pepper spray into the corridor.  I made it out the other side of the building and never noticed a thing.  Sometimes shallow breathing comes in handy, but mostly it's not a good thing.

As for grounding, I've always been told to feel the ground below my feet or to hold onto something solid to ground myself in the present.  It works for me.  I can see how following your breath could help, but if it just causes more distress because you're worried about feeling caged, then it seems it's just causing more trouble than it's worth.

I'm curious to know if your therapist offered any other suggestions besides breathing to help you ground yourself.

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notalone

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Re: Grounding
« Reply #2 on: February 03, 2019, 02:18:17 AM »
Thanks for your response, Kat. My therapist gave me several suggestions. Other than breathing, he suggested meditation. I've tried that a few times with guided help from YouTube. He also suggested holding an object. I still need to try that. Today I went for a walk and tried to stay focused on my senses. I have tried tapping. That seems to help when my feelings aren't too big. I have a weighted blanket that I use; my therapist suggested trying to place it on different parts of my body. When I'm in session, he coaches me to feel the chair supporting me, feel my feet on the floor, etc. I think I will go get some chocolate (is that part of grounding?!) and use my weighted blanket.

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woodsgnome

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Re: Grounding
« Reply #3 on: February 03, 2019, 06:49:54 AM »
For what it's worth, I can offer something I started doing years ago as a quick means to settle my nerves, especially in anxiety-prone social situations. This has helped lower my anxiety level so I could at least function.

What I do is simply say (usually silently) on an ordinary inbreath, the word Peace. Then on the outer breath I use the word Love. So -- Peace/Love on alternate breaths, and those can be reversed -- the precise sequence doesn't matter, just the calming effect. While I like the brevity of those words, I'm sure others would work -- the main consideration is that they be calming.  Nor does this involve particularly deep breathing -- just regular breaths.

As to holding an object, I've done variations of that, especially in therapy. What this consists of is bringing some small item with that I can hold or touch if something unsettles me. This object can be something that has real or symbolic meaning. It might just be a stone or pebble from a special natural area one likes, for instance (I'll sometimes bring a pine cone). There's other possibilities as well -- while my therapist has her own therapy dog, another option could be just holding an animal puppet.

I wish you well with trying to find a means to feel more grounded.   
« Last Edit: February 03, 2019, 07:04:41 AM by woodsgnome »

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notalone

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Re: Grounding
« Reply #4 on: February 05, 2019, 02:34:29 PM »
Thanks for the suggestions. I put an object in my pocket when I went to a party on Sunday. When I started feeling anxious, I held it and it did help.