Mental Health in the Moment

Go-To Grounding Techniques

When difficult emotions build up, causing anxious or depressive thoughts, it can be a challenge to stay in the present moment. Grounding is a meditative practice that helps mitigate overwhelming thoughts by helping you tune in to the world around you. Read on for some methods to ground yourself and feel more present through the ups and downs of daily life.

Go Outside

If negative emotions have you feeling stuck, physical movement can help improve your mood. Stretching, exercising, playing with a pet, gardening, or simply sitting outside can redirect your thoughts from worries. The key here is to move with intention, paying attention to how your body feels and interacts with the world around you. Do you feel the sun or wind on your skin? Are you holding tension in your jaw or shoulders? Are there any changes you can make to feel more comfortable in this setting?


Another method that you can practice anywhere at any time is to visualize something that brings you comfort. Perhaps it’s a familiar park, a restaurant with fond memories, or a city you once traveled to. 

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Picture the place as if you were there, imagining the noises and feelings you would be experiencing. Or try imagining a loved one, recalling their features and the sound of their voice. Consider what they might say to encourage you through this moment.

Take some time to determine which grounding method works best for you, and if the negative feelings persist, don’t give up. Studies have found that consistent meditative practices may help reduce stress, improve sleep, lower blood pressure, fight addictive behaviors, and control pain. As always, reach out to your support systems and healthcare providers to help you navigate difficult seasons in life.

5-4-3-2-1 Method

If going outside isn’t an option, or if movement isn’t preferable for your body, the 5-4-3-2-1 method is a great practice to feel present. From wherever you are, list:

  • 5 things you can hear
  • 4 things you can see
  • 3 things you can touch
  • 2 things you can smell
  • 1 thing you can taste

Notice things that usually fade to the background, and simply list the items for what they are, rather than how they make you feel.

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