12 Steps to Grounding in Stressful Situations

The word grounding means different things to different people and can be used for a variety of purposes to achieve a specific outcome.


Generally, the outcome is associated to a sense of well-being, calmness focus presence and feeling safe. Grounding can and sometimes it is also called earthing and it refers to the connection that you have with the earth and how mother nature has the potential to heal and make us feel better.


No matter the name, context or the focus that we want to apply grounding, it is a very useful well-being tool that you can draw on easily without any need for special resources.

With practice we can learn to ground ourselves at any time of day and I use the tool of grounding in a variety of my well-being services and contexts.


An example of this is that we use grounding in Pilates to bring awareness to the physical body, postural state, physical pain, core connection and breathing pattern.

In meditative work, we use grounding to slow the nervous system and bring the body into a state of calm relaxation.


In empowerment self-defence we use grounding to bring the participant back to the present moment if they have either been working in an adrenalized , emotional state, they may be showing signs of trauma that can arise at any time or we just want to bring the heart rate down after physical movement.

In general terms grounding can be used to calm the nervous system when feeling high levels of stress or anxiousness. Grounding is also a very important tool to use when people are experiencing trauma like symptoms such as flashbacks, depression, high levels of fear and anxiety.


When we are highly stressed, depressed or adrenalized our sense of self connection is generally limited and we are mostly working ‘outside ‘of the physical body lacking in awareness of ourselves and the surroundings.


Our vision can be reduced to foveal vision and grounding will help us bring ourselves back to our expanded sensory state where as we can make safe and sensible decisions.


If we are in a state of foveal vision our focus is very limited to only what is in the small frame of our vision without the benefit of the peripheral vision.


Most of our sensory system such as our hearing and vision is also reduced. This puts us at risk in the context of decision-making and also at risk environmentally.


If we are outside, an example of that would be having limited awareness of traffic movements and we could walk out onto the road without seeing or hearing an oncoming car.

The following is a grounding system that you can practice yourself on a personal level or with the people around you.

  1. Always check the physical surroundings for safety before starting a grounding exercise.
  2. Grounding is best done in a standing position though it can be done laying down or sitting in a chair. If sitting in a chair ensure that both feet are firmly connected to the floor.
  3. Offer yourself or the participant the option of eyes open or closed depending on the emotional state. If you /they are highly emotional or adrenalized I would suggest keeping the eyes open so that you /they can expand their vision and senses into their surroundings to bring them back to the grounded state more quickly.
  4. If you/they are comfortable they can look into your eyes for a short moment to connect them on a safe intimate human level.
  5. Start with and talk through 3 x slow deep breaths, in through the nose out through the mouth to a count of five.
  6. Continue with this breathing pattern throughout the whole exercise.
  7. Next, bring the awareness to the physical body, you can start from the top of the head and work down to the feet, or vice versa.
  8. Bring awareness to anatomical positions of the body eg: Notice the face muscles relaxing. Relax the jaw line. Notice the shoulders softening and relaxing.
  9. Cue to allow your/ their breathing to become slower and deeper.
  10. Continue working down the body pointing out places of potential tension in the body until the grounding is complete all the way through the feet.
  11. Bring your/their awareness back to the physical surroundings by bringing attention to landmarks in and outside of the room eg: notice the sound of the clock, notice the sound of the traffic outside.
  12. Offer them a moment at the end to acknowledge how you/ they are feeling as this builds awareness of the result and wires into the nervous system a calm state that this process brings.

The system of grounding can take 2 -5 minutes depending on what you are trying to achieve. Generally, this time frame is sufficient to change the emotional state and anything longer than this can turn into a meditation, which usually has a different focus and outcome.

Practice regularly to achieve the best results, if you or a person near to you is regularly in a state of fright and flight it will take time to undo this pattern of nervousness.

The good news is that the emotional and physical body is so highly adaptive to change that reversing these heightened emotional states is desirable, achievable and can start with the simplest basic tools such as this grounding exercise.

If you work in a highly stressful environment this simple practice is perfect to introduce and something that you could bring to share with your colleagues or team on a daily basis.

This also is a great teambuilding exercise and allows people to connect more deeply to themselves and with each other to build more quality human relationships in their working environment.

Grounding also helps with our focus and increases our productivity in our working lives, just one more great reason to practice this easy tool for your physical mental and emotional well-being, ENJOY .

Sandra Leigh specialises in helping to build healthy people businesses & workplaces to improve mind body performance

If you would like to find out more about how SANDRA LEIGH TRAINING can you help you, your business or workplace


Sandra Leigh is a Professional Pilates Instructor, Qigong Teacher, Trainer and Coach who specialises in helping woman over 40 live free from physical and emotional pain!

If you would like to find out more about how SANDRA LEIGH TRAINING can you help you.

Please contact Sandra Leigh at
[email protected]

mob: 0409 625 131