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  • Writer's pictureMelissa Manente


I got up a little later today, knowing I would not have to go into the office due to snow. I proceed to make my coffee ( if you know me, you know how much of an important step that is). As I turn my coffee machine on, I go to feed the cats - then I do not hear my coffee brewing - and I hear two kids screaming. Girl child comes downstairs screaming ( yes, screaming) that the power went out. I then look over at the coffee maker (oh no). I then check GROUP ME, in which all my girlfriends announce the same thing (oh no). I then look at my phone and realize I did not charge it last night (oh no, no-no, no-no).

Actually, it was my amygdala screaming “EMERGENCY EMERGENCY.”

Let’s talk about the science behind grounding techniques. The amygdala is located deep within the temporal lobe of the brain. The amygdala is responsible for several different bodily functions, but we will be talking about its EMERGENCY stress response for the sake of this.

When we get stressed, the amygdala goes into action. It realizes something stressful is going on and sends signals to have an emotional reaction ( stress reaction). It is preparing itself for what is to come ( or what we perceive is to come). Rapid heartbeat, increased muscle tension, sweating, and rapid breathing are all a function of what the amygdala is doing. Then because we have these reactions - the amygdala says

“shit, something is going on--- let’s stress even more” So now we become more anxious, more stressed, more “holy shit, what the hell is happening” ---and now we are having a panic attack or panic-like symptoms. It is a vicious pattern!

Find the grounding technique that can work best for you. Many helpful websites can guide you through this process. It can vary from situation to situation. The grounding techniques that I have found that work best for me are adrenaline focused, where you will find me cleaning anything and everything, taking yoga to “find my zen”, or paying attention to my drifting thoughts and asking myself out loud, “what am I currently doing.” In the case of today, the first thing I said, I was currently going to find some cold brew and drink that - where Boy child said, “Yeah, let’s do that.”

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