Stressed? Try dropping anchor
High stress levels can affect all areas of your life, leaving you feeling irritable with others, too exhausted to feel effective, even unable to enjoy your favourite activities.
If you’re feeling overwhelmed by challenging feelings or thoughts, your brain can signal to your body you’re in a threatening situation, activating your survival system of fight, flight or freeze.
If you feel this way, a technique called Dropping Anchor can help. This quick exercise helps you reconnect with the present moment and feel calm. It’s an Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) grounding technique, developed by Dr Russ Harris.
You can practice it in advance when you’re feeling fine, so the skill comes more easily when you need it. Or, use it when you’re feeling stressed, overwhelmed or caught in an ‘emotional storm’ of negative thoughts.
6 simple steps: Dropping anchor
- Acknowledge your thoughts, emotions and whatever’s troubling you
- Get into a comfortable position, sitting or standing
- Straighten your back, push your feet down into the floor
- Notice the muscle tension in your legs
- Feel gravity acting on your head, back, legs and feet
- Notice what you can see, hear, sense around you
Follow these simple steps whenever you need to feel calmer, more present and able to focus.
Save a copy of this simple graphic, for a quick reminder of the technique:
Stressed - try dropping anchor.pdf
Dropping anchor is based on a simple acronym, A,C,E:
- Acknowledge your thoughts and feelings.
- Come back into your body.
- Engage with your surroundings and what you're doing.
It’s one of several grounding tips you can use to calm your mind, get you through a stressful moment, or manage your stress levels ahead of the next challenge.
Need more help?
If you work in health or social care and you live or work in Berkshire, Wellbeing Matters is here to help you. We can offer you free, confidential support with feelings of stress, anxiety, low mood or any other mental health issue.
Support for you
- Try a SilverCloud for staff - Space from Stress course. It helps you understand the source of your own stress and useful coping strategies, in bite size lessons. It uses personalised quizzes, tools, videos and user stories you can dip into 24/7. You can also find courses on sleep, anxiety, low mood, positive body image and money worries.
- Call our Wellbeing Line : 0300 365 8880, 9am–4pm, Monday to Friday, except bank holidays. Leave a message to ask for a call back.
- Email: WellbeingLine@berkshire.nhs.uk to ask for a call back.
Support for your team
- Book a wellbeing workshop or informal consultation about how best to support your team, email email@example.com
- Book a team wellbeing hub now to share difficult experiences and ways of coping with your colleagues, facilitated and supported by a psychological practitioner.
Wellbeing Matters specialise in offering confidential psychological support to health and social care staff. We’ll talk things through with you and connect you with the right support for your needs.
You may also be interested in
- SilverCloud for staff : Free online courses help you learn to manage stress, sleep, low mood, anxiety and more
- Feeling panicky? Try this 5,4,3,2,1 grounding tip
- What's your favourite self-care tip?
- 8 ways to wake up feeling refreshed
- Wellbeing resources