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21 Simple & Effective Ways To Ground Yourself, According To Mental Health Experts

Sarah Regan
July 26, 2023
Sarah Regan
mbg Spirituality & Relationships Editor
By Sarah Regan
mbg Spirituality & Relationships Editor
Sarah Regan is a Spirituality & Relationships Editor, and a registered yoga instructor. She received her bachelor's in broadcasting and mass communication from SUNY Oswego, and lives in Buffalo, New York.
Image by Sergey Filimonov / Stocksy
July 26, 2023
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When we feel grounded, we're connected to the present moment, centered, and calm. When we're not grounded, however, we can feel scattered, stressed, and anxious.

But when those moments strike, knowing how to ground yourself can help you quickly get back to feeling at ease. So, we rounded up 21 expert-backed grounding techniques you can try the next time you need 'em.

What are grounding techniques?

Grounding techniques are ways to bring yourself back (aka "ground") into the present moment and connect with your body, mind, and environment. They are used when a person feels "ungrounded," or otherwise stressed, anxious, or dissociative.

As psychologist Ernesto Lira de la Rosa, Ph.D., previously explained to mindbodygreen, "Grounding techniques are exercises that help us stay in the present moment and are designed to return our bodies back to our baseline."

And as energy worker Irene Langeveld, M.S., previously wrote for mindbodygreen, that baseline of being grounded means you're allowing yourself to feel centered and balanced no matter what's going on around you—versus if you aren't grounded, when you feel like a leaf in the wind: vulnerable and thrown off balance very quickly.

Grounding and mindfulness techniques, then, "help your body to reconnect and return to being fully present," explains psychotherapist Babita Spinelli, L.P.

10 physical grounding techniques:


Move your body.

Mindful movement is extremely grounding and helps you to return to your body, according to Spinelli. As she tells mindbodygreen, you could move your body around very slowly, for instance, noticing each body part and micro-movement. "You can also stretch, dance, take a long walk, run, or jump up and down," she adds.


Try breathwork.

Breathwork is a powerful tool that can boost your energy up or calm you down, depending on what you need. In the case of grounding, de la Rosa recommends the 4-7-8 breathing method:

  1. Start by exhaling all of your breath through your mouth, then take an inhale through your nose for 4 seconds.
  2. Hold the breath for 7 seconds.
  3. Exhale the breath through your mouth for 8 seconds.
  4. Repeat this cycle of breath at least 4 times.

What makes 4-7-8 breathing so effective, de la Rosa notes, is how it can help you regulate your breathing. "It essentially helps your body feel safe and relaxed and can quell anxious thoughts," he says, adding, "After doing this exercise, you will notice that your breathing patterns changed, and you may notice less tension in your body."


Get outside.

Connecting with nature is a great way to ground down into the present moment and literally ground into the Earth. As physician Eva Selhub, M.D., previously wrote for mindbodygreen, whether you choose to hike, walk, garden, sit outside, or meditate, just do it mindfully.

"Engage all your senses, observe your surroundings without judgment, and appreciate everything around you that's bringing your body and mind into a state of calm," she says.


Move locations.

Simply moving to a different room might seem too easy, but according to licensed marriage and family therapist Emily Maynard, LMFT, anxiety often involves looping thought patterns, and moving can help divert your attention.

Further, adds licensed therapist Kimberly Martin, LMFT, staying in the same place can trigger rumination, so don't underestimate the impact a change of scenery can have on your overall mood.

Even changing something about the environment you're in can help plug you back into the present moment, she adds, noting that playing white noise or relaxing music can also help shift your mind, silence unwanted thoughts, and remind your brain to take a break.


Try the 5-4-3 method.

The 5-4-3 technique, recommended by Spinelli, is a classic grounding technique for connecting to the present that involves naming five things you can see, four things you can hear, and three things you can smell. To engage all your senses, you could also add two things you can touch, and one thing you can taste.

Engaging your senses might sound too simple, but it's an incredibly easy and effective way to get your body involved in the present moment so your mind can catch up.


Eat or drink something.

Speaking of engaging your senses, consider feeling ungrounded permission to have a little snack or a warm cup of tea. In fact, according to functional registered dietitian Michelle Shapiro, R.D., when it comes to anxiety, the No. 1 thing she recommends is the consumption of grounding foods.

Anything that's cooked, warm, cozy, and nutrient-dense is a good option, she previously told mindbodygreen, adding, "That could very easily be meat, starchy vegetables, [or] amazing oils and fats."



According to associate director of the Modern Sex Therapy Institute and somatic psychotherapist Holly Richmond, Ph.D., singing is a highly underrated way to get grounded when you're feeling out of it.

Not only are you breathing and engaging your vocal chords, but you're engaging your sense of hearing. Bonus points if you're singing along to music that feels grounding to you!


Do a body scan.

Body scan meditations involve bringing awareness to different parts of the body, aka "scanning," through focus and concentration and have a very grounding effect. As yoga teacher, reiki master, and meditation expert Susy Markoe Schieffelin previously told mindbodygreen, "You begin by noticing that body part and then consciously relaxing it."

Starting at the crown of your head, notice any sensations and breathe into any tension, consciously relaxing that place. Slowly (really, really slowly) work your way down the body, bit by bit. From the crown, move to the temples. From the temples, to your forehead. From the forehead, to your eyebrows, and so on and so forth, until you've gone all the way down to your toes.

Here's our full guide on how to do a body scan meditation for more information.


Take a bath or shower.

Richmond tells mindbodygreen that taking a hot or cold shower is another way to engage the body so you can get back to feeling grounded. In fact, research shows cold therapy, aka "cryotherapy," not only helps keep inflammation in check1 (which is only made worse by stress) but also helps to alleviate stress2.

And even if you're not into the idea of a freezing cold shower, a hot one can still be incredibly grounding.


Try earthing.

"Earthing" means walking barefoot on soil, grass, or sand (i.e., any natural surface). Not only does it require you to get outside and connect with nature, which is grounding in itself, but one study published in the Journal of Environmental and Public Health3 found that grounding benefited skin conductivity, moderated heart rate variability, improved glucose regulation, reduced stress, and supported immune function.

Here's our guide to earthing to help you get started.

7 mental grounding techniques:


Give your feelings a character.

If you're feeling ungrounded, Maynard says that creating a character for your anxiety can help you separate it from yourself so you don't feel so caught up in it.

"Draw or describe [your anxiety] as a little gremlin puppet, an animal, or a cartoonish ghost. Then you can mentally narrate the story of your interactions with anxiety," she previously explained to mindbodygreen. By externalizing your anxious behaviors in this way, you're able to feel more in control of what you're feeling—and how you respond to it.



Sometimes putting pen to paper is all you need to feel more connected to the present moment, which is why Spinelli recommends journaling when you don't feel grounded. "Write down your feelings and allow them to flow uncensored. Describe them in detail," she says, adding, "You can also imagine what those feelings would look like (color, temperature, shape, etc.)."


Play brain games.

According to licensed marriage and family therapist Tiana Leeds, M.A., LMFT, engaging in brain games is a fun and easy way to take your mind off whatever it's hung up on, and bring you back into the present moment.

For instance, she says, take a look around and find everything you can see that is blue. Once you've spotted all the blue things around you, repeat the exercise with the color green, yellow, and so forth, until you're feeling more grounded.


Go through the steps of a basic task.

Similar to the above tip, any way you can engage the rational part of your brain is a good way to calm yourself down and feel more grounded, Leeds explains. "By purposefully reengaging our rationality, we can shift out of worry and into logic," she says—and it doesn't have to be anything complicated, either.

Think of a basic task you do every day, like cleaning up the kitchen or your skin care routine. Mentally run through each step of the process in detail, taking your time visualizing or talking out the steps.



Research has shown that humor is a protective factor against anxiety4, so if you're feeling ungrounded or anxious, lean on laughter and call up your funniest friend, or watch your favorite comedian's latest special. Laughing literally calms the nervous system5, plus it'll help take your mind off of whatever's making you feel ungrounded.


Use affirmations.

As aforementioned, sometimes feelings of anxiety and being ungrounded can stem from looping subconscious beliefs. But according to psychiatrist Anna Yusim, M.D., that's where affirmations can come in. They're essentially self-selected phrases that embody who you would like to become, Yusim explains. For example, you might say I am grounded or I am right where I need to be.

The idea is that positive thinking creates self-improvement, Yusim previously explained to mindbodygreen, and repeating your affirmations throughout the day can transform thought patterns and mental attitudes. "Together, with honest self-reflection and concrete action steps," she says, "positive affirmations can be a wonderful part of one's behavioral change regimen."


Draw something.

You don't have to be super artistic to get the benefits of a little crafting time. As Richmond says, drawing is another process that can help you calm down and regulate your nervous system.

"Instead of trying to solely talk your brain into calming down, integrating the mind and body with nervous-system-regulating exercises or activities is a much more effective practice," she says.

4 emotional grounding techniques:


Comfort your inner child.

If you're feeling ungrounded, it could be your inner child that needs comforting more than anything. According to Spinelli, it's worthwhile to try connecting with your inner child and reminding them that they are safe.

"Verbally communicating with parts of yourself and emphasizing that you are safe and OK helps to bring you back to your body—speak to your different parts and ask what that part you may need in the moment," she suggests.


Spend time with loved ones or pets.

As Richmond tells mindbodygreen, spending time with loved ones or even pets can help bring your nervous system down from an elevated fight-or-flight state, which can certainly happen when you're feeling ungrounded. Whether you grab dinner with a couple of friends, or simply pet your cat for a few minutes, notice how interacting with others brings you back to the present moment.


Practice gratitude.

Practicing gratitude (aka consciously reminding yourself of what you're grateful for) is a powerful practice in and of itself, but it can be especially helpful for grounding because it forces you to focus on things that make you happy. Not only are you then engaging your rational mind by coming up with a list, but you're thinking positive thoughts and reminding yourself of all you have to be grateful for.


Visualize something that soothes you.

Last but not least, if you can't get into an environment that would be more soothing or grounding for you, visualizing one is your next best bet. Try visualizing a space that would feel grounding to you, such as an open field next to a body of water, a mountain landscape, or even a spa.

Imagine yourself in this space, visualizing anything you can see, hear, feel, smell, or even taste. As you visualize, have your eyes closed but keep your feet firmly planted on the ground.


What are the 5 things to ground yourself?

The five things to ground yourself are five things you can see, four things you can hear, three things you can smell, two things you can touch, and one thing you can taste.

What does it mean to ground yourself?

Grounding techniques are ways to bring yourself back (aka "ground") into the present moment and connect with your body, mind, and environment. They are used when a person feels "ungrounded," or otherwise stressed, anxious, or dissociative.

The takeaway

It's important to know how to ground yourself when you're feeling tense, frazzled, or otherwise disconnected. If feeling ungrounded is negatively impacting your quality of life, consider working with a mental health professional, but in the meantime, these 21 tips and tricks can help bring you down to Earth.

Sarah Regan author page.
Sarah Regan
mbg Spirituality & Relationships Editor

Sarah Regan is a Spirituality & Relationships Editor, a registered yoga instructor, and an avid astrologer and tarot reader. She received her bachelor's in broadcasting and mass communication from State University of New York at Oswego, and lives in Buffalo, New York.