Tip of the Month
Many of the members we serve at Mainstream Living experience anxiety on a regular basis. While some members need little support coping with anxiety, many members, especially those within the mental health program, may need some assistance from staff. One of the best ways to help bring someone out of anxiety, is by using grounding techniques. Broadly speaking, grounding can be defined as bringing somebody back to where they are, back to the present moment, or back to reality. Another way to frame it would be identifying a perceived danger that someone has, and then helping them to realize that in the current moment, that danger does not actually exist. These things are all easy to talk about, but it is important to have specific skills and tools to help with grounding if you really want to be effective as a staff member. Listed below are several different grounding techniques, as well as a linked resource that can help you assist a member with grounding.
Ask a member to identify five things in their environment. Try to get the member to focus on these five things only, and to experience or describe the different sensory reactions they have to them. Keep a member focused on these until his or her anxiety has decreased.
Ask a member to do something physical with their body to help them to feel more present in a situation. This can take a number of forms, but can range from tapping legs with their hands, to rubbing objects in their hands. Some people even use specific objects called “worry stones” for grounding, which are essentially polished stones with little grooves for rubbing fingers.
Additional resources are provided in the linked document below.
Whatever method you may employ, it is important that the member is receptive. There is no one-size-fits-all solution to anxiety, so be flexible and willing to try new things. If you can effectively help someone with grounding, it can greatly expand their opportunities.