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Distraction Technique for Grounding Anxiety

Anxiety can be a very uncomfortable feeling. We can experience spiraling thoughts, increased feelings of nervousness, and physical symptoms such as increased heart rate, sweating, trembling, gastrointestinal problems, and more. It can feel like we are losing control of our environment. So what is one way that we can ground ourselves so that we may find our sense of calm again? It is through distraction. Anxiety is the one mental health challenge that distraction can work well for. Distraction pulls our attention away from our anxious thoughts. Here is one anxiety distracting technique that I teach to my clients:

  • Think of a color

  • Begin naming off every object in your immediate environment of that color

  • Once you finish doing so, pick another color and repeat

  • Repeat as many times as needed until anxious symptoms subside

The reason why distraction works well is because during moments of high anxiety, our brains believe that there is an outside threat (that is non-existent) and that we have no control of our environment. Distraction techniques such as this one help to remind our brains that there is no outside threat and that we still very much have control over our immediate environment. While techniques such as this one can help provide temporary relief from anxious symptoms, it is always important to seek support in psychotherapy. During our sessions, I help my clients to explore their underlying triggers, develop skills to ease symptoms, and explore lifestyle changes that best support their healing process.

DISCLAIMER: The content of this blog does not substitute for mental health services. These are my personal thoughts gained from my experiences and education as a psychotherapist. If you are experiencing an emergency, please call 911.

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