The purpose of having grounding techniques at the ready is to help you to step away from negative thoughts, rumination, anxiety about the future, panic attacks, dissociation and more. Grounding techniques actively work to bring your awareness to the current moment and surrounding sensations.
The first step is to notice your need for grounding. Are you experiencing excessive stress or anxiety about the past or future? Do you find yourself mentally “not present” often? We all daydream and spend time in our minds, but sometimes excessive dissociation or the inability to focus on the present can disrupt daily life or could mean we aren’t managing trauma or anxiety well.
Firmly plant your feet on the ground and state out loud the date, time, and where you are. State that you are safe. It might be helpful to begin with a breathing exercise. Place one hand on your belly and one hand on your chest. Watch your hands rise and fall with your breath and you breathe deeply and slowly with control.
There are a few different sensory grounding techniques. To use the 5-4-3-2-1 grounding technique, notice five things around you that you can see, four things that you can touch, three things you hear, two things you smell, and one thing you can taste.
Another option is the 3-3-3 technique. Find 3 things you see, hear, and feel. If you are struggling to notice bodily sensations, begin by noticing the temperature of the room, or the texture of the surface you are sitting on.
If your senses are not engaged or what you are connecting to doesn’t ground you strongly, enhance your sensations purposefully. Try firmly grasping ice or something with an interesting texture, play loud music or clap your hands, light a candle or smell a strong perfume, eat a peppermint or bite into a lemon. Finding things that have a stronger sensation will help to draw you into the present moment.
If you are having frequent panic attacks, anxiety attacks, and are struggling to stay present in your life frequently, reach out to us for help. We have skilled therapists who can work with you to uncover traumas and help you on the path to healing. These grounding techniques are a useful tool to bring you back in the moment, but deeper, long-term healing is available.
Sign up for our quarterly newsletter with practice news, timely resources, staff highlights, and other helpful tidbits!
You’re in the loop for all things related to Life Insight. We promise to only send you valuable information our staff believes you might like. Make sure you check your email to confirm receipt of our newsletter.