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Grounding: 5-Step Technique to a Relaxed Body & Mind

February 21, 2024

Grounding Technique

The idea of being grounded is really just about being connected to the present moment and this technique is a great tool to use when feeling anxious or overwhelmed.

If you were asked to describe five things around you, without looking, could you do it? More often than not, that answer would be no. We find ourselves caught up in the hustle and bustle of life that we tend to focus on everything at once or nothing at all. This can lead to stress and anxiety in our daily lives. One meditative practice to combat this issue is the idea of grounding. 

What is Grounding?

Grounding is the process of anchoring yourself to the moment you are in. This can seem like a trivial practice, simply realizing what's going on around you. But this process takes it one step further, utilizing all of your senses to fully comprehend not only the space around you but yourself as well. This is a very beneficial practice to alleviate moments of extreme stress, anxiety, trauma, or moments of emotional heightening throughout the day. 

While there are many different ways for an individual to ground themselves, one practice widely used and accepted for its vast therapeutic properties is the 5-4-3-2-1 technique. This grounding practice relies on the importance and use of your five senses: sight, touch, hearing, smell, and taste. By utilizing all of these senses, you are becoming in touch with the world around you and yourself. 

Steps to Follow

This practice and technique can be performed anywhere at any time. Do not feel pressured to do this technique in a specific location or in any manner, it is unique and special to you and only you.

5 Things You Can See 

The first step in this process is to locate and identify five things that you can see. You can vocalize these thoughts or keep them in your head, whatever you prefer. When looking at these five things, try to go into detail about their characteristics. If you see an office chair, does it have a unique mark, distinct color, or unique features? By thinking about these five objects, and going into detail, you are providing yourself a distraction from your emotions and feelings around you.  

4 Things You Can Feel 

What are four things that you can feel? These things can be from the environment around you or they can be part of you as well. If you are sitting on a chair, what is the texture of that chair? How does the material of your desk, cup, or even shirt feel? It is helpful to close your eyes during this phase as you are better able to focus on the details of what you feel without relying on optical clues.  

3 Things You Can Hear

What are three things that you can hear? You can point out to yourself the obvious noises you may hear. These could include traffic going by, water pouring, or keyboards clicking. Try to focus on the sounds that are not as recognizable, honing in on your senses to provide clues to these. 

2 Things You Can Smell

What are two things that you can smell? This could be apparent smells in the room or environment you are in. These smells could also be aspects that give your environment its characteristics, whether those are good or bad. 

1 Thing You Can Taste 

What is one thing that you can taste? This is often the most difficult thing to become mindful about. Sometimes it may help to have a piece of gum, food, or candy to focus on specific flavors and notes you are tasting. If you have nothing to taste, that is okay, but it will require more mindfulness. If you don't have anything, think about the last thing you tasted. That could be the toothpaste from this morning or the coffee you had an hour ago. With this taste in mind, is it still present or has it gone away?

Benefits of Grounding 

The application and use of grounding carry with it many benefits to help enhance your emotional and physical state. Often this technique is used to help cope with traumatic experiences or moments of anxiety, stress, and heightened emotional states. While a basic method, it offers a powerful way to stabilize yourself in the present. By utilizing all of your senses, you can anchor yourself in the moment and create a sense of calmness and stability in any situation you are in. Next time you feel emotionally heightened or need to relax your body and mind, give this technique a try. 


Learn more about mindfulness


Editor’s note: This blog post is presented for informational purposes only and is not meant to diagnose or treat any illness. If you have any health concern, see a licensed healthcare professional in person.