From mindful walking to fidget cubes, I’ve been exploring tools and techniques that help me when I’m feeling anxious or overwhelmed. With the support of my therapist, I’ve been finding ones that work for me! In this blog, I’d like to introduce you to a few so you can try them, too!
I’ve been collecting a wide array of affordable fidget toys and other grounding tools that now live in every room of my apartment, in my car, and even in my pocket. Any small object that draws on my senses can help. I tend to prefer things that can be gripped easily, are brightly colored, make a noticeable sound, and/or have a distinct scent. All of the tools I’m listing below can be found at low cost at grocery stores, dollar stores, or online.
Affordable Tools You Can Test Out:
- Fidget Toys
- Popper Fidget Toys
- Fidget Cubes
- Bouncy Balls
- Spiky Balls
- Spiky Rings
- Glow Sticks
- Household Objects
- Frozen Orange (Yes, I’m suggesting that you freeze an orange and then hold it, observing it closely.)
- Scented Chapstick
I understand that tools like the ones I listed above may not be available at all times or that you may need something more than the brief distraction they provide. The following techniques are intended to help fill those gaps! Some are more discreet, like breathing exercises. Others require you to get your body moving!
Techniques You Can Explore:
- Breathing Exercises
- Square breathing (Ex: Breathe in for 4 seconds, hold for 4, exhale for 4)
- 5,6,7 Breathing (Inhale for 5 seconds, hold for 6, exhale for 7)
- Mindful Walking
- Shift your focus to the way your body feels as you move and to the ground you feel beneath you.
- There are free audios available online for guidance.
- Using Your Surroundings
Feel free (when possible) to move about the space you’re in while practicing this one.
What Can You…
- Colors, brightness, patterns
- High/low tones
- Textures, temperatures
- Pleasant/unpleasant smell
- Sweet, sour
What tools and techniques help you feel grounded when you’re feeling anxious or overwhelmed? I encourage you to take the time to explore what works for you, and remember that you don’t have to do it alone! You can talk to a therapist along the way or reach out to the 988 Lifeline if you’re ever in need of support.