Did you know that your body was created with a natural fight-or-flight response? This means if someone starts chasing you, your body can kick into high gear; your heart beats faster, you sweat more, allowing you to react quicker and run faster. Your brain produces extra chemicals so you can think faster and recall things that you have witnessed, replaying them in your mind so you can stay motivated to protect yourself and move to safety.
But what happens if you really aren't in danger, but your brain seems to be stuck on fight-or-flight and will not calm down to process your situation? This is when anxiety sets in. The part of your brain that is responsible for the fight-or-flight response (amygdala) will not calm down and shut off. When this happens, try using your senses or logic to “ground" you and bring you back to the present and to a neutral state.
USING YOUR 5 SENSES
What are the 5 senses?
How do your senses help?
Your body was built to give higher attention to the things that it identifies through your senses. When your senses are engaged you become in the moment, more mindful, and thoughtful about how to proceed next. By grounding yourself and engaging your senses, you're turning your thoughts to the present.
Try it out:
Why might logic work?
Your brain naturally craves logic to kick in so it can think through a situation and resolve the issue. When the brain gets stuck in fight-or-flight it can be difficult to think your way out. If you give your brain a different logic exercise to think about, it will naturally turn off some of the fight-or-flight response, so you can process the stressful situation more effectively.
- Making lists
- Math games
- Word finds
For more ideas see 10 Ways To Stay Grounded.