Grounding Techniques (and I don't mean the coffee)
In my last blog we looked at what grounding techniques are, and how they are useful. Here are a number of others for you to try.
The Grounding Chair
Start by sitting down in a comfortable chair, in a place where you feel safe and your feet can touch the floor. Close your eyes and take a deep breath in. And release slowly. Really focus on each breath and repeat until you feel calmer. Then bring your focus to your body. How do you feel sitting in the chair? How does your body feel? Press your body into the chair. How does the texture feel against your skin? If there are pillows, how does the material feel?
Next push your feet into the ground. Slowly bring your focus on your feet. Wiggle your toes. Then imagine your energy from your mind, what colour is it? Then imagine that energy flowing down from your mind, through your body and out through your feet. The heaviness of the energy throughout your body as it moves down and feel your muscles relax as the energy drains away into the ground.
Drawing around your feet
Place your feet on the ground and in your imagination pick your favourite colour to draw an outline around each foot. Start at the heel and using your imaginary pencil slowly go up the side of your foot to your little toe and then make sure you draw around each toe and then go back towards the heel. Repeat on the other foot.
Another quick way to focus on your feet when you are in a stressful situation is just wiggle your toes inside your shoe. Pay attention to the sensation as you move each separate toe. Do some move independently of the others? Tense up your whole foot then stretch it out. Now do the other foot.
Sometimes it can be too difficult to focus or concentrate enough on some of these grounding techniques if you feel like you have too much energy. Which is why doing something physical can help release some of that adrenaline and pent-up energy enough to help you feel calm.
For instance, you could try going for a walk, jog or a run. You could even try simply going up and down the stairs. You could put some music on and try dancing around the house. You could also try cleaning the house! Anything to help release some of the excess energy and when you feel calmer, trying some of the other grounding techniques.
Write in a journal about how you’re feeling or keep a list of prompts handy that you can use to decide what to write about.
Write a letter or card to someone you care about.
Try counting backwards by 7, starting at 100. It isn’t that easy and requires you to concentrate. This one can also be helpful to do when you are finding it hard to sleep.
Holding an Object
Hold an object in your hand and really bring your full focus to it. What does it look like? What colours does it have? How does it feel in your hand? Is it rough or smooth? Light or heavy? Can you wrap your whole hand around it? Is it hard or squishy? If you held it up to the light, what does it look like? Are there shadows or reflections?
You can use any object that is lying around or even use a small item that you are fond of to carry around with you, if you anticipate being in a stressful situation.
Start by sitting comfortably and closing your eyes. Take a deep breath in and then release it slowly. In through your nose and out through your mouth, really focusing on each breath.
When you’re ready, open your eyes and list out loud:
5 – Things that you can see
4 – Things you can feel (chair? Hair? Furniture? Clothes?)
3 – Things you can hear
2 – Things that you can smell
1 – Thing you can taste (helpful to have a bit of chocolate when doing this exercise or possibly imagine tasting the food you are having for dinner)
Who you are
Remind yourself of who you are now. Say your name. Say your age now. Say where you are now. Say what you have done today. Say what you will do next. For example:
My name is ……….., and I am …… years old. I am in my living room in my home in ……. I woke up early today. I had a shower and then ate breakfast. I just finished my coffee. Soon I am going to walk to the train station and go to work. I am going to walk down ……… street and then turn …. Then I am going to….
Using a single sense
Bite into a lemon or lime.
Suck on a mint or chew peppermint or cinnamon gum.
Take a bite of a pepper or hot salsa.
Let a piece of chocolate melt in your mouth, noticing how it tastes and feels as you roll it around with your tongue.
Turn up the radio or blast your favourite song.
Talk out loud about what you see, hear or what you’re thinking or doing.
Call a loved one.
Put on some nature sounds such as birds chirping or waves crashing.
Read out loud, whether it’s your favourite childhood book, a blog or a novel.
Count all the pieces of furniture around you.
Put on your favourite movie or TV show.
Play a distracting game on your tablet, computer or phone.
Read a book or magazine.
Pick a colour. How many things in different shades of that colour can you see around the room or out of the window? Still feeling stressed? Pick another colour.
Smell strong peppermint, which also has the benefit of having a soothing effect.
Light a scented candle or melt scented wax.
Get some essential oils that you remind you of good times and smell one, or use a diffuser.
Take a hot or cool shower.
Grab an article of clothing, a blanket or a towel and knead it in your hands or hold it to your cheek. Concentrate on what it feels like.
Rub your hand lightly over the carpet or piece of furniture, noting the texture.
Pop some bubble wrap or use a fidget toy.
Massage your temples.
Cuddle with your pet if you have one.
Drink a hot or cold beverage.