Anxiety and Depression

People who have been traumatized or who are experiencing a great deal of stress can often be triggered into hyper (fight/flight) or hypo (freeze) arousal states even when there is no immediate threat of danger. Logic and reason exist in other parts of the brain, which we can cannot access when we are in danger. Safety becomes our priority.


Ideally, you want to be in the Window of Tolerance. Working with a counsellor may help you identify your stress triggers. Something as simple as regulated breathing may help you feel grounded in the present. It can lessen anxiety and increase energy, if in a depressive state.

Grounding Exercises

Simple Grounding Exercis

1  Sit or stand comfortably with your feet on the floor.
2  Find your breath in your body.
3  Breathe in and focus on the words – pick something calming to you (I am at peace).
4  Breathe out and focus on the words – pick something you wish to release (I release the tension).
5  Repeat breathing in and out a few more times.

5-4-3-2-1 Grounding Exercise
for more intense anxiety  

5  Name 5 things you see around you.

4  Name 4 things you can feel
“I feel my feet on the floor”
“I feel the air in my nose”

3  Name 3 things you hear right now
“I hear the traffic outside”
“I hear the birds chirping”

2  Name 2 things you can smell right now or 2 smells that bring you comfort

1   Say 1 affirmation – “I am calm” or “I am ok”

Repeat the 5 steps more than once if needed.

Guided Meditation

It can be difficult to quiet the mind. Meditation can be difficult in such a state. Guided meditation can be a way of focusing the mind. Listen to the voice of the speaker. When your mind wonders, acknowledge that it has wondered and bring your attention back to the words. Breath. As you practice, you will improve your ability to follow the guided meditation without being distracted. Be patient with yourself. Especially if this is a new skill.

I like Meditation Vacation on YouTube. But, look for a voice that feels calming for you!

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