3 Grounding Techniques for Stressful Situations

Uncategorized May 04, 2021

Whether it’s a real or perceived threat, our body reacts to stressful situations in a number of ways. Your heart could be racing. Your palms could be sweating. Your knees could be weak. The butterflies in your stomach could turn into full blown birds. This is all part of a natural fight or flight response. The problem is, we often enter this state unnecessarily. In those moments, grounding techniques can help you calm your system, return to your breath, and center yourself. 

The fight-or-flight response

Many of the threats our ancestors faced were different than the ones we experience today. While they may have been more concerned with fighting off a wild animal than dealing with a demanding client, the response has largely remained the same. 

Regardless of the threat, a chain of physiological and psychological responses set off in the body in an effort to mobilize and deal with impending danger. For example, your muscles can tremble in tense moments because they’re priming themselves for action and a quick escape. 

There are certainly times when this response serves us well. But all too often, we end up living in this state for longer than we need to. We end up living in a state of anxiety, where we’re on edge, tense, and nervous. 

(This response is often a result of one of our emotional triggers. Take a look at this post to learn about identifying your triggers and using them to accelerate your growth rather than hold you back)

Grounding techniques for stressful situations

Next time you’re in this state and you want to calm your nervous system and come back down to earth, I invite you to try one of these three grounding techniques. 

Grounding techniques have long been used to calm and soothe the body and mind. There are so many to choose from, but I encourage you to experiment and discover what works best for you.


It’s no secret I am a HUGE fan of breathwork. When it comes to grounding yourself in tense moments, breathwork has a particularly powerful effect on your central nervous system. Take a look at this post to learn about the basics of breathwork as well as some practices to get you started. 


When you’re feeling anxious or uneasy, the last thing you might want to do is get up and move. But the way movement can ground you and calm you down in these moments is invaluable. That’s not to say you need to go for a 10 mile jog if you’re feeling stressed. Instead, try standing up and raising your arms over your head. Take a big breath in and stretch upwards. Let your body move and flow in natural patterns. Not only will this help you relax your tense muscles, but it also helps your mind focus on your body rather than on your stress. 

The 5-4-3-2-1 Grounding Technique

Distracting your mind by moving your body is one common grounding technique that works for many people. Powered by the same idea of distraction, I also encourage you to try what’s known as the 5-4-3-2-1 grounding technique. 

This technique calls on all of your senses to help bring you back to the present moment and calm your nervous system.

It works like this:

  • Name five things you can see
  • List four things you can feel
  • Name three things you can hear
  • Pick two things you can smell
  • Name one thing you can taste

So, next time you want to calm your nervous system and return to a more balanced state, I encourage you to try one of these grounding techniques. Then, let me know in the comments which one works best for you!

(PS. Did you know registration just reopened for my Soulful Leadership group coaching program? It fills up fast so don’t miss out. Sign up here!)

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