Mindfulness VS grounding – is there a difference between these techniques? Which one should I practice? Don’t worry if you’re scratching your head at what this all means. We’re here to decipher the difference between mindfulness VS grounding and how you can practice these powerful techniques whenever you need them.
What is Mindfulness?
While mindfulness might sound abstract and confusing, it’s really quite simple. Mindfulness is about being aware. It’s about being in the present moment and focusing on the here and now.
That could mean focusing on your thoughts, feelings, or emotions. Or focusing on giving your full attention to the activity at hand, like having a conversation with a friend, running, cooking, or even vacuuming!
How Do You Practice Mindfulness?
When you think of being mindful, you might picture deep belly breathing, calming music, and meditation. And you’re not wrong! In fact, having a dedicated space in your home with a yoga mat, meditation cushion and some candles make practicing mindfulness extra enjoyable.
But what about when you’re in public or at the office, and you can’t practice your breath work? Don’t stress, there are other just as effective ways to exercise being mindful anywhere, anytime.
Observe Your Surroundings
One of the easiest ways to practice mindfulness on the go is by observing your surroundings and noticing what is going on around you. Observe the people walking by, the cars in the street, or notice the shape of the clouds.
You don’t have to be in a beautiful environment to practice this either. You can sit on your front step at home or take in the bustling streets from a window at work.
Focus on Your Thoughts
If you sit and bring awareness to your thoughts, what do you notice? What am I going to make for dinner tonight? I need to text Sarah back. You’ll probably find that you can’t get your mind to stop racing, and that’s okay!
When you focus on your thoughts, try not to engage with them by planning your next meal or drafting a text in your head. Instead, calmly notice them and let them come and go.
If you can’t get your mind to stop racing, chances are, you desperately need a self-care night! Click here for our ultimate pampering checklist.
Truly Listen in Conversations
Don’t get me wrong, we usually have good intentions and try our best to listen and be present in conversations. But often, we’re thinking of what we’re going to say next or even overanalyzing what the other person is saying.
Sometimes we even tune out, focusing on our busy life, to-do list, or our day at work. The next time you’re in a conversion, try to actively listen by giving your full attention to the other person. You might notice you start having deeper, more meaningful conversations as a result!
What is Grounding?
Grounding is a therapeutic practice that helps you bring yourself back into the present moment. Grounding can be used when your mind or body is in a state of panic, stress, anxiety or when you’re overwhelmed by your thoughts.
Practicing grounding techniques can help you regain a feeling of control and safety when you’re overwhelmed by difficult emotions or unwanted memories.
There are two types of grounding techniques – mental grounding and physical grounding. Both are extremely beneficial in bringing you back into the present moment and creating space between distressing feelings and experiences.
How Do You Practice Grounding?
Deciding whether to use physical or mental grounding will take some practice. Physical grounding uses your senses – touch, smell, hear, see and taste to bring you back into the present moment.
Mental grounding uses techniques to distract your brain from troubling thoughts or memories to bring you back into the moment.
Physical Grounding Techniques
The 5 Senses Technique
The 5-4-3-2-1 technique can be extremely helpful in allowing you to feel grounded and calm when you experience anxiety or distressing feelings.
To begin, you notice five things you can see. Then four things you can touch, three things you can hear, two things you can smell, and one thing you can taste. It helps to have a comforting object with a soothing texture for this exercise. Like a cozy blanket or a fluffy pillow!
Progressive Muscle Relaxation
Progressive Muscle Relaxation might sound complicated. But it’s as simple as tensing your muscles as you breathe in, then relaxing them as you breathe out.
You can start with your hands, clenching them into fists as you breathe in, then gradually relaxing them as you slowly breathe out. Be mindful and notice the sensations. Does one muscle group feel different from the others? Then do the same thing for the rest of your body while focusing on your breath.
Mental Grounding Techniques
Say the Alphabet Backwards
This one is harder than you imagine! Saying the alphabet backward requires your full attention and concentration, in turn distracting you from your thoughts and emotions.
You don’t have to say it out loud either. So if you need a grounding technique to use in a public place, this technique will help bring you back to the present moment.
Describe Your Dream Vacation in Detail
Similar to saying the alphabet exercise, describing your dream vacation in detail distracts you from what else is going on.
Maybe you dream of going to Bali. What does it look like? What’s the temperature? How does the sun feel on your skin? What are you eating, drinking? Close your eyes, and try to immerse yourself in the exercise.
What Is The Difference Between Mindfulness Vs Grounding?
Mindfulness is about focusing on the present and being in the here and now. And grounding is about bringing yourself back to the present moment.
Mindfulness can be used daily to help you pause, center yourself and connect to the present situation, free of distractions. Whereas grounding can be used to bring you back into the present when you experience stress, anxiety, or feel overwhelmed.
When it comes to mindfulness VS grounding, neither technique is better than the other. Both practices are highly beneficial for your health and can have a huge impact on reducing stress and anxiety in your life. It’s about understanding what you need in the moment and choosing which technique will best serve you.
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