Get Grounded

Grounding is something we can do when we find ourselves emotionally overwhelmed, anxious or experiencing a trauma re-triggering event.  When we have experienced a traumatic event, it is fairly common that we might experience flashbacks or intrusive memories of the event or aspects of the event that can be very unsettling.  Sometimes it might feel that we are back in the midst of the event, literally as if we were reliving the trauma, whilst other times we might find that our thoughts are a jumbled series of future-focused fears that other bad things will happen to us, and it feels impossible to stop the racing, escalating thoughts.  It feels like anxiety, only worse.  Other people have difficulties with dissociating – where they have learned to take themselves far, far away from their discomforting thoughts, feelings and sensations and they appear (and feel) very separate to the world.  They can become disorientated, disconnected and physically numb.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Grounding is all about finding ways to bring you back to the here and now, to slow down those racing, catastrophic thoughts and generally settle your nervous system so that you can thinking clearly and act safely, able to make sound decisions.  Grounding practices can be done at any time, in any setting, and ideally are the kind of thing you practice regularly so that if and when a triggering moment occurs, you’re ready to go with a variety of different things that you have confidence that can really help settle you down.

Grounding ideas:

 Physical grounding strategies

  • Take your shoes and socks off and get outside on the earth, soil or grass paying close attention to the sensations under the soles of your feet
  • Pick a colour and look around you, naming as many things as possible that you can see in that colour
  • Choose a grounding object and carry it around in your pocket – maybe a crystal or smooth stone, or use a bead bracelet
  • Focus on your breath – especially your exhale breath, trying to lengthen your exhale breath, making it longer than your inhale breath
  • Name 5 things you can see, 4 things you can feel, 3 things you can hear, 2 things you can smell and 1 thing you can taste
  • Run your hands under the cold tap for a few minutes, or splash cold water on your face
  • Do some push-ups, burpees or squats noticing what your body feels like when it moves
  • Hum a song

Mental grounding strategies

  • Play an alphabet game (e.g. breeds of dogs, countries or food)
  • Count backwards from 100 by 4
  • Describe in detail how you make your favourite recipe
  • Read a page of a book outloud
  • Say a safety statement: “My name is [insert name]; I am safe right now. I am here in the present, not in the past.  I am [describe what you’re doing/where you are]; the date is [insert date]; I am [insert age] years old and I am wearing [insert clothing].”

Soothing grounding strategies

  • Hug yourself
  • Gently tap your hands on your thighs or up and down your legs
  • Repeat a comforting phrase or affirming quote such as, “this too shall pass” or “I am here and I will be ok”
  • Imagine being in your Calm Place (see below for app suggestions to help with this)

Apps for grounding

  • Calm
  • Calm Harm
  • Anxiety Release (using EMDR)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We have a team of therapists at Thea Baker Wellbeing who can help with grounding strategies – please reach out to us at: hello@theabaker.com.au / 03 9077 8194.