Simple technique to stop the cycle of anxiety
Written by listed counsellor/psychotherapist: Anna Midgley MA, Dip Psych, Reg. BACP
23rd January, 20160 Comments
This is a four-step technique that can ground you when you are feeling overwhelmed with anxiety. It is a stabilisation method designed by Francine Shapiro who specialises in resolving the symptoms of traumatic and other disturbing life experiences. It can be used anywhere and at anytime. Give it a try when you next feel you need support and let me know how it goes.
1. Earth - Ground yourself and be in the present by putting both your feet firmly on the ground. Take a minute or two to "land" and truly be in the present. Look around and notice what you see and hear.
2. Air - Breathe to centre yourself. For example, you can breathe in through your nose for the count of four, hold it for two seconds and then breathe out for four seconds. You can repeat this as many times as you want to, focusing on deep, slow breaths.
3. Water - Pay attention to your mouth. See how much saliva you have in it, as when you are anxious your mouth often becomes dry. Make more by moving your tongue around and imagining the taste of your favourite food. This technique can reverse the anxiety response and help you relax.
4. Fire - Bring up the image of a safe place or another positive resource. Imagine yourself on a beautiful and peaceful beach, forest or the mountains or being safe with your family. As you think about the positive thought or memory, focus on where you feel it in your body.
Remind yourself that you are safe and that you can continue to feel the security of your feet on the ground. Feel centred as you breathe in and out, feel calm and in control as you produce more saliva and let the fire light the path to your imagination to bring up an image of a place where you feel safe or happy.
If you are struggling with chronic anxiety and would like further techniques visit the Mind website or seek further help from your GP or a therapist.
About the author
I am a registered BACP psychotherapist and I use an integrative approach, meaning that I don't limit my approach to one type of therapy. My qualifications, as well as my past experience of working with individuals, enable me to work with individuals in a creative and original way.
Related articles from our experts
- How to survive pain
Greg Savva, Counselling in Twickenham & Whitton, Masters Degree, UKCP,16th February, 2017
- Ways to ground yourself when you're up a height
Fe Robinson UKCP, MBACP, Dip Clinical Supervision13th February, 2017
- The lost art of self-care
Jennifer Kennedy Dip. TA Psychotherapy, MBACP, PGCert Mental Health11th February, 2017
Counselling Directory is not responsible for the articles published by members. The views expressed are those of the member who wrote the article.