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Exercises for Anxiety, PTSD, and More

Grounding is a practice that can help you pull away from flashbacks, unwanted memories, and negative or challenging emotions.

Grounding techniques are exercises that may help you refocus on the present moment to distract yourself from anxious feelings.

You can use grounding techniques to help create space from distressing feelings in nearly any situation, but they’re especially helpful for improving:

  • anxiety
  • well-being
  • stress
  • depression
  • mood
  • post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • dissociation

These techniques use your five senses or tangible objects — things you can touch — to help you move through distress.

1. Put your hands in water

Focus on the water’s temperature and how it feels on your fingertips, palms, and the backs of your hands. Does it feel the same in each part of your hand?

Use warm water first, then cold. Next, try cold water first, then warm. Does it feel different to switch from cold to warm water versus warm to cold?

2. Pick up or touch items near you

Are the things you touch soft or hard? Heavy or light? Warm or cool? Focus on the texture and color of each item. Challenge yourself to think of specific colors, such as crimson, burgundy, indigo, or turquoise, instead of simply red or blue.

3. Breathe deeply

Slowly inhale, then exhale. If it helps, you can say or think “in” and “out” with each breath. Feel each breath filling your lungs and note how it feels to push it back out.

4. Savor a food or drink

Take small bites or sips of a food or beverage you enjoy, letting yourself fully taste each bite. Think about how it tastes and smells and the flavors that linger on your tongue.

5. Take a short walk

Concentrate on your steps — you can even count them. Notice the rhythm of your footsteps and how it feels to put your foot on the ground and then lift it again.

6.

Hold a piece of ice

What does it feel like at first? How long does it take to start melting? How does the sensation change when the ice begins to melt?

7. Savor a scent

Is there a fragrance that appeals to you? This might be a cup of tea, an herb or spice, a favorite soap, or a scented candle. Inhale the fragrance slowly and deeply and try to note its qualities (sweet, spicy, citrusy, and so on).

8. Move your body

Do a few exercises or stretches. You could try:

  • jumping jacks
  • jumping up and down
  • jumping rope
  • jogging in place
  • stretching different muscle groups one by one

Pay attention to how your body feels with each movement and when your hands or feet touch the floor or move through the air.

How does the floor feel against your feet and hands? If you jump rope, listen to the sound of the rope in the air and when it hits the ground.

9. Listen to your surroundings

Take a few moments to listen to the noises around you. Do you hear birds? Dogs barking? Machinery or traffic? If you hear people talking, what are they saying? Do you recognize the language?

Let the sounds wash over you and remind you where you are.

10. Feel your body

You can do this sitting or standing. Focus on how your body feels from head to toe, noticing each part. Consider:

  • your hair on your shoulders or forehead
  • the weight of your shirt on your shoulders
  • whether your arms feel loose or stiff at your sides
  • your heartbeat, and whether it’s rapid or steady
  • whether your stomach feels full or you feel hungry
  • whether your legs are crossed or your feet are resting on the floor

Curl your fingers and wiggle your toes. Are you barefoot or in shoes? How does the floor feel against your feet?

11. Try the 5-4-3-2-1 method

Working backward from 5, use your senses to list things you notice around you. For example, you might start by listing:

  • 5 things you hear
  • 4 things you see
  • 3 things you can touch from where you’re sitting
  • 2 things you can smell
  • 1 thing you can taste

Make an effort to notice the little things you might not always pay attention to, such as the color of the flecks in the carpet or the hum of your computer.

These grounding exercises use mental distractions to help redirect your thoughts away from distressing feelings and back to the present.

12. Play a memory game

Look at a detailed photograph or picture (like a cityscape or other “busy” scene) for 5–10 seconds. Then, turn the photograph face-down and recreate the photograph in your mind in as much detail as possible. Or, you can mentally list all the things you remember from the picture.

13. Think in categories

Choose one or two broad categories, such as “musical instruments,” “ice cream flavors,” or “baseball teams.” Take a minute or so to mentally list as many things from each category as you can.

14. Use math and numbers

Even if you aren’t a math person, numbers may help center you.

Try:

  • running through a times table in your head
  • counting backward from 100
  • choosing a number and thinking of five ways you could make the number (6 + 11 = 17, 20 – 3 = 17, 8 × 2 + 1 = 17, etc. )

15. Recite something

Think of a poem, song, or book passage you know by heart. Recite it quietly to yourself or in your head.

If you say the words aloud, focus on the shape of each word on your lips and in your mouth. If you say the words in your head, visualize each word as you’d see it on a page.

16. Make yourself laugh

Make up a silly joke — the kind you’d find on a candy wrapper or popsicle stick.

You might also watch your favorite funny animal video, a clip from a comedian or TV show you enjoy, or anything else you know will make you laugh.

17. Use an anchoring statement

This might be something like, “I’m Full Name. I’m X years old. I live in City, State. Today is Friday, June 3. It’s 10:04 in the morning. I’m sitting at my desk at work. There’s no one else in the room.”

You can expand on the phrase by adding details until you feel calm, such as, “It’s raining lightly, but I can still see the sun. It’s my break time. I’m thirsty, so I’m going to make a cup of tea.”

18. Visualize a daily task you enjoy or don’t mind doing

If you like doing laundry, for example, think about how you’d put away a finished load.

“The clothes feel warm coming out of the dryer. They’re soft and a little stiff at the same time. They feel light in the basket, even though they spill over the top. I’m spreading them out over the bed so they won’t wrinkle. I’m folding the towels first, shaking them out before folding them into halves, then thirds,” and so on.

19. Describe a common task

Think of an activity you do often or can do very well, such as making coffee, locking up your office, or tuning a guitar. Go through the process step-by-step, as if you’re giving someone else instructions on how to do it.

20. Imagine yourself leaving the painful feelings behind

Visualize:

  • gathering the emotions, balling them up, and putting them into a box
  • walking, swimming, biking, or jogging away from painful feelings
  • your thoughts as a song or TV show you dislike, changing the channel or turning down the volume — they’re still there, but you don’t have to listen to them

21.

Describe what’s around you

Spend a few minutes taking in your surroundings and noting what you see. Use all five senses to provide as much detail as possible.

“This bench is red, but the bench over there is green. It’s warm under my jeans since I’m in the sun. It feels rough, but there aren’t any splinters. The air smells like smoke. I hear kids laughing and dogs barking.”

You can use these techniques to comfort yourself in times of emotional distress. These exercises can help promote good feelings that may help the negative feelings fade or seem less overwhelming.

22. Picture the voice or face of someone you love

If you feel upset or distressed, visualize someone positive in your life. Imagine their face or think of what their voice sounds like. Imagine them telling you that the moment is tough but that you’ll get through it.

23. Practice self-kindness

Repeat kind, compassionate phrases to yourself:

  • “You’re having a rough time, but you’ll make it through.
  • “You’re strong, and you can move through this pain.”
  • “You’re trying hard, and you’re doing your best.”

Say it, either aloud or in your head, as many times as you need.

24. Sit with your pet

If you’re at home and have a pet, spend a few moments just sitting with them. If they’re of the furry variety, pet them, focusing on how their fur feels. Consider their markings or unique characteristics. If you have a smaller pet you can hold, concentrate on how they feel in your hand.

Not at home? Think of your favorite things about your pet or how they would comfort you if they were there.

25. List favorites

List three favorite things in several different categories, such as:

  • foods
  • trees
  • songs
  • movies
  • books
  • places

26. Visualize your favorite place

Think of your favorite place, whether it’s the home of a loved one or a foreign country. Using each of your senses, imagine the noises you hear, the objects you see, and the scents you smell.

Try to recall the last time you went there. Think about what you did there and how it felt at the time.

27. Plan an activity

This might be something you do alone or with a friend or loved one. Think of what you’ll do and when. Maybe you’ll go to dinner, take a walk on the beach, see a movie you’ve been looking forward to, or visit a museum.

Focus on the details, such as what you’ll wear, when you’ll go, and how you’ll get there.

28. Touch something comforting

This could be your favorite blanket, a much-loved T-shirt, a smooth stone, or anything that feels good to touch. Think about how it feels under your fingers or in your hand.

If you have a favorite sweater, scarf, or pair of socks, put them on and spend a moment thinking about the sensation of the fabric on your skin.

29. List positive things

Write or mentally list four or five things in your life that bring you joy, visualizing each briefly.

30. Listen to music

Put on your favorite song, but pretend you’re listening to it for the first time. Focus on the melody and lyrics (if there are any).

Does the song give you chills or create any other physical sensations? Pay attention to the parts that stand out most.

While there’s little research explaining how grounding techniques work, the techniques represent a common strategy for managing PTSD and anxiety.

Grounding techniques use tools such as visualization and senses including sight, hearing, and smell to help distract you from a variety of possible feelings and thoughts. Like mindfulness techniques, they help you return to the present moment.

During a panic attack or traumatic flashback, your emotions can take over your thoughts and physical responses. Focusing on the present through grounding techniques can help interrupt your body’s response and return your brain and feelings to a place of safety.

Use grounding techniques to help you manage feelings like:

  • distress
  • traumatic flashbacks
  • nightmares
  • painful emotions, like anger
  • anxiety

It’s best to try doing a grounding exercise when you first start to feel bad. Don’t wait for distress to reach a level that’s harder to handle. If the technique doesn’t work at first, try to stick with it for a bit before moving on to another.

Grounding yourself isn’t always easy. It may take some time to find the techniques that work best for you in different situations.

Here are some additional tips to help you get the most out of these techniques:

  • Practice: It can help to practice grounding even when you aren’t dissociating or experiencing distress. If you get used to an exercise before you need to use it, it may take less effort when you want to use it to cope in the moment.
  • Avoid assigning values: For example, if you’re grounding yourself by describing your environment, concentrate on the basics of your surroundings rather than how you feel about them.
  • Check in with yourself: Before and after a grounding exercise, rate your distress as a number between 1 and 10. What level is your distress when you begin? How much did it decrease after the exercise? This can help you get a better idea of whether a particular technique is working for you.

Grounding techniques can be powerful tools to help you cope with distressing thoughts in the moment. If you’re having trouble using grounding techniques, a therapist may be able to assist.

It’s also important to get help from a therapist so you can address the root cause of your distress. If you don’t have one yet, check out our guide to affordable therapy.

If you need help finding a mental health professional, then check out our FindCare tool here.

What is Gratitude and Why Is It So Important?

When you feel down in the dumps or find yourself in a funk, how do you cope?

Do you turn to junk food, self-medication, shopping, etc.?

One healthy, powerful, and free strategy to rise from this temporary emotional state is to practice gratitude.

Gratitude turns what little you have into abundance.
Gratitude is so much more than saying thank you.
Gratitude changes your perspective of your world.

But yet you wonder how you can find the positive when everything seems so bleak? Read on to learn how to identify the positive when it seems there is nothing to be grateful for. We’ll also explain the importance of gratitude, how to show it to others, and share gratitude and appreciation videos.

Before you continue, we thought you might like to download our three Gratitude Exercises for free. These detailed, science-based exercises will help you or your clients connect to more positive emotions and enjoy the benefits of gratitude.

This Article Contains:

  • What is Gratitude – Its Meaning & Definition
  • Gratitude & Positive Psychology – What is the Connection?
  • Why Is It Important to Be Grateful?
  • The Importance of Gratitude in Life
  • The Importance of Thanksgiving
  • How to Show Gratitude and Appreciation
  • 5 YouTube Gratitude Videos
  • A Take-Home Message
  • References

What is Gratitude – Its Meaning & Definition

Gratitude is an emotion similar to appreciation. The American Psychological Association (n.d.) more specifically defines this phenomenon as a sense of happiness and thankfulness in response to a fortunate happenstance or tangible gift.

Gratitude is both a state and a trait (Jans-Beken et al., 2020). Better explained, one can experience gratitude for someone or something at a certain moment in time, and someone experience gratitude more long-term as a positive character trait.

According to Dr. Robert Emmons, the feeling of gratitude involves two stages (Emmons & McCullough, 2003):

First comes the acknowledgment of goodness in one’s life. In a state of gratitude, we say yes to life. We affirm that, all in all, life is good and has elements that make it worth living. The acknowledgment that we have received something gratifies us, both by its presence and by the effort the giver put into choosing it.

Second, gratitude is recognizing that sources of this goodness lie outside the self. One can be grateful to our creator, other people, animals, and the world, but not to oneself. At this stage, we recognize the goodness in our lives and who to thank for it.

The two stages of gratitude comprise the recognition of the goodness in our lives and then how this goodness came to us. Through this process, we recognize the fortune of everything that improves our lives and ourselves.

Further, gratitude can be considered either a dispositional trait or a state of being.

As a trait, an individual practices gratitude as part of their daily life (McCullough et al., 2002), and it is considered a character strength. It is important to remember that gratitude is a strength that can be enhanced with awareness and practice.

When a person experiences the emotion from someone expressing gratitude for them, it is referred to as a state (Watkins et al., 2009).

Gratitude & Positive Psychology – What is the Connection?

As we already know, positive psychology focuses on positive thoughts and behaviors. Its constructs include optimism, hope, and, you guessed it – gratitude (Iodice et al., 2021).

As part of Seligman’s PERMA model, which includes positive emotion, engagement, relationships, meaning, and achievement, a key positive emotion includes gratitude (Lianov, 2021).

Robert Emmons has led positive psychology’s expansion of research on the importance of gratitude. Emmons has authored several papers on the psychology of gratitude, showing that being more grateful can lead to increased levels of wellbeing (Emmons & Crumpler, 2000).

Some of Emmons’s work has also specifically dealt with gratitude in a religious setting, highlighting how gratitude towards a higher power may lead to increased physical health (Krause et al., 2015). There will be more on gratitude and religion later.

Why Is It Important to Be Grateful?

Passmore and Oades (2016) assert that as expectations have changed, gratitude has diminished in western society. Possessions and health are expectations for many individuals rather than considered personal ‘blessings’ that are appreciated. “Gratitude has, for many, been replaced by disappointment, anger, and resentment when these expected ‘blessings’ either do not appear or they disappear” (Passmore & Oades, 2016, p. 43).

We have learned gratitude helps people focus on the positive aspects of their life. Gratitude can help build and maintain relationships with others, resulting in hope, life satisfaction, and more proactive behaviors toward others (Passmore & Oades, 2016).

If you still aren’t convinced, you may wish to pick up one of the books suggested in our Gratitude Books article.

The Importance of Gratitude in Life

Gratitude is strongly related to wellbeing (Jans-Beken et al., 2020; Wood et al., 2010). The positive effects of experiencing and expressing gratitude are endless.

Gratitude has been found to be beneficially associated with social wellbeing, emotional wellbeing, and psychological wellbeing (Jans-Beken et al., 2020). It is no surprise that trait gratitude is an important “predictor of wellbeing and other desirable life outcomes” (Portocarrero et al., 2020, p. 6).

Gratitude appears to have a domino effect. If a person experiences gratitude, they are more likely to recognize the help and then later reciprocate that help (Wood et al. , 2010). People who are thanked are presumably more apt to extend help to others in the future.

Likewise, people who are not thanked may not be expected to provide reciprocation in the future. The expression of gratitude is beneficial for both individuals and society (Bono et al., 2004).

Further, gratitude is an element in many religions. For example (Passmore & Oades, 2016),

  • Buddhism – Gratitude is indicative of the concept of dependent origination, which implies that everything is interconnected. For Buddhists, awareness of our interdependent and interconnected existence evokes gratitude for the web of life that sustains us.
  • Judaism – Individuals practicing Judaism may start the day with Modeh Ani, a short Hebrew blessing thanking God for life.
  • Christianity – Christians denote gratitude to God by stating blessings. These blessings are said in a prayer form and are created for food, family, life, and any other blessings that God may grant.

As if you needed any more convincing, in a review of the literature, Cregg and Cheavens (2021) found that gratitude has a positive affiliation with positive affect, life satisfaction, extraversion, forgiveness, and a negative affiliation with substance abuse and neuroticism, as well as an inverse relationship between gratitude and anxiety and depression.

The Iceberg of Gratitude

What exactly is gratitude, and how can we experience more of it daily?

Gratitude is the act of recognizing and acknowledging the good things that happen, resulting in a state of appreciation (Sansone & Sansone, 2010).

Often when we consider what we are grateful for, overt and profound life experiences, circumstances, and events come to mind. We may feel grateful for our upbringing, family, job, good health, and the opportunity to gain an education. While recognizing and being grateful for these experiences is important, our gratitude practice must also venture below the surface.

Below the surface, we find the simple, everyday pleasures that often go unnoticed. This may be a great book we read, laughter with a friend, or even the joy of eating ice cream in the sunshine. Whatever these simple pleasures may be, consciously expressing our gratitude for them can help us grow our daily gratitude practice beyond the surface level.

We invite you to consider the full iceberg of gratitude, your fortunate life experiences, as well as simple daily pleasures.

The Importance of Thanksgiving

If you are from North America, then cornucopia, turkey, Pilgrims, and Native Americans may come to mind when you mention the word ‘Thanksgiving.’ Thanksgiving is more broadly explained as a day to give thanks. Countries such as Grenada, Saint Lucia, and Liberia also celebrate Thanksgiving, while countries like Brazil and the Philippines celebrate it unofficially (Vicens, 2022).

The Netherlander town of Leiden and the Australian territory of Norfolk Island also celebrate this holiday (Vicens, 2022). Similarly, Germany, the United Kingdom, and Japan celebrate a fall harvest, where people also give thanks.

So why is there an entire holiday created for giving thanks?

For many, “Thanksgiving is a collective ritual that celebrates material abundance through feasting.” (Wallendorf & Arnould, 1991, p. 13). Thanksgiving is important because it is a designated time assigned to encourage us to pause to be mindful of the blessings we have. Many of us get so caught up in our day-to-day routines that we fail to stop and acknowledge our fortunes.

To demonstrate and celebrate gratitude, you don’t need a particular holiday to show thankfulness. Conveying gratitude should be practiced daily.

How to Show Gratitude and Appreciation

Gratitude can be demonstrated in many ways. It can be shown with merely a simple, verbal “thank you” or it can be indicated by a more elaborate practice, such as the strategies detailed below.

To improve your gratitude, reflect on how better you can show your appreciation to others. When verbally expressing gratitude to someone, consider reflecting on your emotions and on the effort involved. Here are some examples:

‘Your birthday gift to me makes me overjoyed. I appreciate the length you went to in order to find this limited edition book by my favorite author. I value that you know me so well and did this especially for me.’

‘Mom, I am grateful for the life you have given me. Even though it took 15 hours to deliver me and raising me was full of challenges, you have done the best you could and I appreciate that.’

‘Our Father in Heaven, you have blessed me with ten fingers and ten toes, eyes to see and ears to hear. I am grateful for the wonder of your creation and for sparing my life every day.’

For more examples, read our article How to Express Gratitude to Others.

Gratitude journal

A gratitude journal involves jotting down a few things that you are thankful for and can be done daily or weekly as you so choose. Keeping a gratitude journal is a good first step toward establishing gratitude, and it will help you identify and reflect on people, things, or events for which you are thankful.

Nawa and Yamagishi’s (2021) research involving university students concluded that completing a gratitude journal not only positively impacts academic motivation, it favorably influences goal-directed behavior in general.

In this study, 84 students were placed into either an active manipulation group (gratitude group) or a neutral control group. For two weeks, the active manipulation group was asked to list five things they were grateful for and evaluate various aspects of their daily lives, while the control group was only asked to do daily self-evaluations. Unsurprisingly, the gratitude group demonstrated significant enhancements in academic motivation.

You can make use of our gratitude journal article, which includes journal worksheets with prompts to guide you into the good habit of daily gratitude journaling.

Gratitude letter

Writing a gratitude letter is a form of written communication that conveys an appreciation for someone in your life. These effectively communicate the impact someone has had on our lives.

Further, the gratitude research conducted by Iodice et al. (2021) concluded that individuals who wrote about things they are grateful for showed better mood, coping, and physical health. In this study, participants were assigned to one of three groups: Group one wrote about things they were grateful for, group two wrote about daily hassles, and group three wrote about a neutral topic.

Within their review of literature, these researchers also cited Emmons and McCullough (2003), whose findings suggested that individuals who practiced gratitude by writing about things they are grateful for showed better mood, coping, and physical health than the other participants.

The gratitude visit

Take the gratitude letter a step further by visiting the person to whom you are giving the gratitude letter and reading it aloud to him or her. A study by Wood et al. (2010) suggests that gratitude visits are a practice that is even more beneficial than a gratitude letter and practitioners of this strategy reported more happiness.

In their preliminary research, Wood et al. (2010) referenced two studies involving gratitude visits. In a study by Seligman et al. (2005), adults from an internet sample were instructed to write and deliver their gratitude letter within 1-week. Those who went on the gratitude visit reported more happiness and less depression than the control group.

Another study by Froh, Kashdan et al., (2009; Froh, Yurkewicz et al., 2009) resulted in similar findings. A sample of children and adolescents from a parochial school were divided into two groups: a group who conducted a gratitude visit and a group who wrote about daily events. Findings indicated that the youth who experienced the gratitude condition reported greater gratitude and positive affect than the youth in the control condition.

Meditation

As we know, meditation is a method for focusing attention (Pascoe et al., 2021). Pascoe et al. (2021) conducted a systematic review of studies assessing the impact of meditation on psychological processes. They found that meditation, does in fact, “decrease distress experienced resulting from psychological stressors by influencing psychological processes” (p. 3).

Although meditation doesn’t directly demonstrate gratitude towards others, meditation and focusing attention on people or things you are grateful for indicates appreciation to yourself, which could help to foster even more gratitude.

No matter how small or grand the gesture of gratitude is, it is essential to show thankfulness in our everyday lives. After all,

Feeling gratitude and not expressing it is like wrapping a present and not giving it.

William Arthur Ward (Brainyquote.com, n.d.)

We have a dedicated article offering gratitude meditation guidance for you to peruse.

And finally, if these four suggestions were not enough to get you started, we share an extensive list of methods in our article Most Popular Gratitude Exercises and Activities.

5 YouTube Gratitude Videos

These five handpicked gratitude videos will not only inspire you to practice gratefulness but also inform you of the importance of daily practicing this state or trait. If you’d like to enjoy an even greater selection, our blog post Best TED Talks And Videos on The Power of Gratitude shares over 30 excellent videos.

Gratitude is: A poem & animation – Macarena Luz Bianchi

Gratitude Is is a short, light-hearted poem accompanied by animation. This poem is also a full-color gift book available on Amazon as a highly-rated read. This would be a great video to share when beginning to discuss gratitude with a class.

The power of choosing gratitude – Tye Dutcher

Tye Dutcher, an international paralympic athlete, describes how gratitude changed and continues to change his life. After he experienced a horrifying accident at just 11 years old, Tye had a choice. He chose gratitude. He explains his thankfulness for what he has and the blessings he will receive.

The power of gratitude – Titan Man

If you practice gratitude daily, no matter how much or how little you have, you will be happy. This is the message Titan Man delivers in his video narrated by Oprah Winfrey. This video would be beneficial in serving as a daily reminder to show gratitude.

Gratitude is good for you – John Templeton Foundation

If you would like to know the additional benefits of gratitude, this short video by the John Templeton Foundation is fast-paced and engaging. Several strategies for growing gratitude are shared.

The power of gratitude – Psych3Go

Being grateful will make you healthier and happier. While you may have already gotten this message, this video explains the research conducted with adults and children that completed a type of gratitude journal. Gratitude in regard to mental health is discussed in greater detail.

A Take-Home Message

Someone could have everything and still feel like they have nothing. Someone could have nothing but still be happy with what they have. Recognizing gratitude towards non-tangibles, such as health and relationships, is a good start.

As we have learned in this piece, gratitude has endless benefits for both individuals and society and has deep roots in positive psychology.

It can be identified in many religions, as well as in the secular world. It is crucial to understand that gratitude can be defined as both a state and a trait. Perhaps with the exercises provided in this article, you will be able to move from a grateful state to a healthy trait.

There are various ways to demonstrate gratitude. Regardless of the method you choose, it is critical to convey thankfulness. Additionally, you don’t need to wait for a holiday to show appreciation.

Gratitude is the key to a happy life and should be continuous, practiced daily. Another important takeaway is that gratitude can have a snowball effect. You never know the positive effects your gratefulness will have on others and the future impact it will have.

Gratitude is a perspective – it is a choice. We hope that you choose gratitude today and every day. We’d like to leave you with this quote,

“Gratitude is the ability to experience life as a gift.”

John Ortberg (Zito, 2022).

To read more inspirational gratitude quotes, kindly refer to this article by Barbara Bellise Zito.

Who or what are you grateful for? How are you going to convey this thankfulness? Please let us know in the comments, or better yet, let that person know! Until next time, please know that we are thankful for YOU, our gracious reader!

We hope you enjoyed reading this article. Don’t forget to download our three Gratitude Exercises for free.

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neurologist about the benefits and harms of swear words

According to a new study by British psychologists, the use of swear words increases the pain threshold, reduces discomfort and makes a person more resilient. Neurologist Alexander Evdokimov told TV channel how swearing affects health.

— Why does swearing affect a person so much?

Alexander Evdokimov: We are talking about acute pain. When a person is in pain, they release stress hormones that trigger an action. Mat — emotional words that cause a surge of energy. When we say obscenities or some kind of swear word, we do it with an expression, this is the release of energy from the body.

It doesn’t matter if you use obscenities or swear words. You can just sing loudly, shout and there will be such an effect. The whole point is not in the mat, but in its color. It happens on autopilot, the person doesn’t think about it. Using swear words, we quickly give a reaction to a particular event. It becomes easier for us, attention is switched to other parameters, and the body is distracted.

— Usually a person swears when he is under stress. How stress affects health?

Alexander Evdokimov: Stress, if we approach its interpretation, is a positive reaction. Stresses are planned short, as a rule. Another thing is when it comes to chronic stress, when every day a person experiences one or another emotional load. His stress exhausts, and in this case, of course, the body can overstrain, problems may appear. First of all, hormonal. And they can start certain chains in the body. Stress itself is a progressive story, it is development, moving forward, but when it comes to chronic stress, we get a weakened, exhausted body that requires increased attention and care. We tell a person when he is under stress that it is most likely a combination of some emotional events that led him to exhaustion and health problems.

— Can stress affect the body in a positive way?

Alexander Evdokimov: Stress is an adaptation, we all say that life requires adaptation to the conditions of existence, and stress is its tool, a mechanism by which life learns the world around us, adapts, adjusts to it, life is impossible without stress.

— If a person often uses swear words in his speech, his chromosomes begin to actively change their structure, and a negative program is developed in DNA molecules. Can there really be consequences?

Alexander Evdokimov: Maybe you have heard about such studies when classical music is played on cows and they give good milk yields. Therefore, I think there is a healthy grain under everything, there is something behind everything, and negative emotions are considered destructive. Negative emotions — envy, hatred, anger, an attempt to annoy someone — all this leads to the fact that negative energy is produced in the body and, of course, it negatively affects health.

Another thing is when we experience positive emotions, for example, a smile, joy, love — they fill the body with positive, creative energy. Everyone has experienced this in their life, there is nothing surprising here. This must be taken for granted.

— Under no circumstances should one swear in front of children, then children may also have mental retardation?

Alexander Evdokimov: Let’s see how children generally understand swear words. Let’s be honest with ourselves that checkmate is checkmate, only we know. Children do not react to words at all, they react to the emotion that is around this word, that is, to anger, to anger, to aggression.

Children read these emotions, they do not understand mat, its meaning. Therefore, when we speak with children in swear words, we speak to them rudely, evilly, we speak the language of aggression. What do you think, if you talk aggressively with a child, will he really develop fully? He will experience stress from verbal messages from our side, although he does not know the meaning of these words at all. You just need to understand that a rude attitude towards both an adult and a child is likely to cause a reaction of clamps, fear, and the child, of course, because of this, may suffer in development, lag behind, especially if this happens regularly.

– So it’s all about the negativity that adults carry, and how do children react to it?

Alexander Evdokimov: Children do not memorize words in terms of words. If we say to a child “mom, dad”, he remembers the images, and the consonance of these images, and their expressiveness. When we say “oh, it hurts,” he remembers not “oh, it hurts,” but color and sounds, and then, when he grows up, he finds combinations of sounds, phrases, words with colors. The child does not know many words, especially if he is small. The child learns through images. If you give a child the concept of fear, he sees your expression, emotion, facial expressions, and through this he learns words, and not vice versa — he does not learn words through hearing.

— What are some tips to keep your nerves in order and at the same time not use swear words, not swear when stressed?

Alexander Evdokimov: Now a healthy lifestyle is popular, but it does not include only the physical development of a person. This is not only exercise, food, but also a good emotional background. And the checkmate is still ranked as a negative background. This is a harsh environment, and if you use markers of a hostile environment, then you will not be fully healthy. It will not be an element of a healthy lifestyle if you try to put a marker of aggression, hatred, dislike on every word, and all this verbally affects us.

A simple example: smile and experience a negative emotion at the same time. You will feel that it is difficult. And try to make a stern face, get angry at someone — you just imitate facial expressions and really experience this emotion. It is enough for you to smile and you will experience this emotion. It’s the same with words. When you say words that have an encoded negative, your body will perceive it as a negative. And children also perceive words with a negative connotation. Therefore, the less you use these words in your life, the less negativity in your life will be, you will pay less attention to it, the less you will be aggressive towards each other — everything is interconnected.

The second signal system is words, they carry a huge semantic load. If someone insults you, calls you ugly, you experience discomfort. Why when you say swear words, do you think that they do not affect you? No, they affect you, you get used to them, your body begins to extinguish this influence, you don’t notice them somewhere, but it still happens on a subconscious level.

What the use of swearing says, the psychologist said: December 17, 2021, 08:39

Psychologist Zhannat Amman told why some people swear, express anger with foul language and what their frequent use indicates, Tengrinews.kz correspondent reports.

Swearing is heard almost everywhere today, including in places with which it is incompatible: in the family circle, in public places and even in schools. Why do people swear? Is swearing part of the language or is it a sign of the moral decay of the individual?

Poor vocabulary

Zhannat Amman notes that people swear for various reasons, in addition, it is worth understanding that there is an unconscious and consciously used obscenity.

«Unconscious swearing is when people speak using swear words. When they use swear words to link words because of a limited and meager vocabulary. For example, they use it at an unconscious level without any energy,» said Amman.

The psychologist emphasizes that people who have a limited vocabulary automatically use swearing, because one word can replace several other words.

«People who do not know how to express their feelings, for them a mat is a necessity. Using the same word, you can express several emotions and feelings, the declension and conjugation of the same word is very convenient for people who do not have a wide vocabulary,» she explained.


Strong emotions and sexual energy

The specialist also believes that some people, using obscenities, tend to emphasize the emotionality, expressiveness and categoricalness of what was said.

«Some people cannot express emotions without swear words. For example, since we have a patriarchal society, men are implicitly required to prove their gender. In some companies, it is considered that a mat is proof of masculinity,» the psychologist added.

Sexual energy can also be behind the need to swear, the expert believes.

«The very meaning of mat is the designation of the genitals. It has long been known that people are made of sexual energy. This is the energy of life, creative energy. When people use mat, it indicates a lack of energy. This is done to raise energy and emotions,» she added.


Self-assertion method

According to Jannat Amman, teenagers, for their part, use swear words to assert their own position in society.

«Perhaps it will sound esoteric. Young people swear in order to assert their right to adulthood in life, since this is sexual energy. They deny hypocrisy and affirm a certain adulthood. Since an adult has the right to swear, and a child should not swear. In the world of a child, sex does not exist,» she emphasized.

In conclusion, the psychologist emphasized that the use of obscene language in a certain sense allows you to join a very strong energy.

«Swearing is a part of life. I wouldn’t say it’s good, but it’s there. As a person, I wouldn’t consider it a positive phenomenon. Since it’s a rough form of designating genitals and sex.

By alexxlab

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