27 Grounding Techniques

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Do you suffer from anxiety, panic attacks, or flashbacks from your trauma? Have you heard of grounding techniques? If you haven’t, continue reading.

RELATED: How to Improve Your Mental Health

Grounding Techniques to Ease Your Mind

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What Are Grounding Techniques?

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Grounding techniques are exercises that distract you from overpowering feelings. These could help detach you from emotional distress and anchor you to the ground. When strong negative emotions or memories overwhelm your mind, grounding techniques help bring you back to the present.

It could help you cope with anxiety, anger, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), or nerves before publically speaking.

The best thing about grounding techniques is that they are simple yet powerful tools. You can do them wherever and whenever you need them.

5-4-3-2-1 Grounding Technique

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This is one of the more popular techniques that encourages you to use all five senses. Employing all your senses may be enough to distract you from breaking down and make you more aware of your surroundings.

Here’s how it works:

5 – Spot five things in your environment. It could be a traffic light, a park bench, or anything within your sightline.

4 – Touch four things that you can feel with your hands and feet. It can be the carpet, phone, or the fabric of your shirt.

3 – Identify three different sounds in your environment. Listen to the music playing, the sound of shoes on the ground, or someone tapping their nails on a table.

2 – Focus on two different smells. It could be the coffee in front of you or the smell of grass.

1 – Turn your attention to something you taste. If you’re chewing on gum, savor the flavor and focus on the details of it. Is it sweet? Salty?

But not everyone may benefit from this technique despite its popularity.

Below are more practices that could help you ground.

Physical Grounding Techniques

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These techniques describe practices that make use of your body to bring you back to the present. In essence, these bring your soul back to your body.

The key is to pay attention to minute details, fully employing all your five senses. Using your senses reminds you of where are right now.

  1. Rinse your hands with hot or cold water. Focus on how the temperature feels against your skin.
  2. Hold on tight your chair. Note how the upholstery feels. Which parts of your body touch your chair? Does the chair feel stable?
  3. Wear a rubber band around your wrist loosely. Pull and release it so that it lightly flicks your wrist.
  4. Slowly chew your food and savor the flavors. Also, note the smell and texture in detail.
  5. Inhale, exhale. Focus on each breath and repeat a coping word in between.
  6. Move around and stretch your limbs. Roll your head, shoulders, and wrists. Shake your legs and stretch them out.
  7. Jump up and down if you can. Transfer all that energy into moving your muscles.
  8. Hold on to a grounding object. It can be anything that can fit in your pocket that you can fidget with. It can be a paper clip or jewelry you already have on you.
  9. Get out. Go somewhere you feel you can get more access to hair. Do breathing exercises to calm yourself down.

Cognitive Grounding Techniques

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Cognitive or mental practices refocus your mind on other things.

These force you to realize where you are as of the moment—the present.

Start by asking yourself these questions:

  • Where am I?
  • What day is it today?
  • What is the date today?
  • What month is it?
  • What year is it?
  • How old am I?
  • What season is it?

Other mental ground techniques include:

  1. Play a game you can do by yourself like the alphabet game. Choose a category and enumerate all related words in alphabetical order.
  2. Recite the alphabet or count slowly.
  3. Imagine that you’re writing a journal in mind. Describe what you did today in detail. (“Today, I woke up at 6:30 am. I took a warm shower and wore a new outfit.”)
  4. Recall a funny memory or tell yourself a funny joke to shake you out of your fog.
  5. Count backward from 1000.
  6. Sing to yourself (in your mind).

RELATED: Is Your Mental Health Affected by High-Sugar Diets

Soothing Grounding Techniques

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In a stressful situation, soothing practices allow you to be kind to yourself.

  1. Repeat kind, soothing thoughts to yourself. (“I am a strong person. I am doing well and I can get through this.”)
  2. Recall all the things that make you happy. Do you have a favorite food? It could also be a hobby or even your favorite time of the year.
  3. Recite a song, chant, poem, or prayer that helps put your mind at ease.
  4. Treat yourself to your favorite dessert or to your favorite movie.
  5. Have something to look forward to like a camping trip with your friends or a reunion dinner with your family.
  6. Picture everyone that makes you happy—it may also include Fido.

Grounding Techniques That May Help Reduce the Intensity of the Distress

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In addition to grounding techniques that can snap you back to reality, here are some practices that could help lighten the load.

  1. Clench your fists as if you’re pouring all your emotions into them. Then release your hold along with those feelings.
  2. Imagine a volume knob in your mind. But instead of this controlling sound, this controls how heavy your emotions are. Picture yourself dialing this down, bringing down all negative emotions down as you turn.
  3. Use guided imagery to transport yourself to a safe and pleasant place. This is your safe space and nothing can harm you while you are inside. You can rest and calm down while you’re here. Loosen your muscles and let your worries melt away.
  4. Ask yourself strength-based questions. (“How did I make it?” and “How did I survive the trauma?”)

Some distracting methods like the physical, soothing, and cognitive grounding techniques might also help lower the intensity of your anxiety.

Grounding Techniques Are Not Permanent Cures

There is no replacement for psychologist-administered therapy. These techniques may not lessen the number of medications you need to take. Instead, they help you temporarily deal with emotional distress.

Discuss with your doctor what grounding techniques work best for you. Your therapist may also recommend other techniques that help you create your own safety bubble.

Check out this video to find out more about grounding techniques and how they can help you:

Grounding techniques help distract you from anxiety attacks or PTSD. It might even help you calm yourself down when you’re anxious about public speaking or work. By distracting yourself with simple exercises that take over your brainpower, your force distressing thoughts out.

Some techniques might take some trial and error. Not all techniques will work for everyone. Keep this article handy and go over which one suits you best.

Whichever feels the most distracting or grounding may be the best technique for you.

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