We can all get lost in emotional thoughts, especially anxiety and shame thoughts.  We might find ourselves disconnected from the world around us.  Those of us who have experienced trauma can also become lost in terrifying memories or experience episodes dissociation or depersonalization.  When this happens, it is critical to re-direct our attention to the world around us.  What do we see?   What do we hear?  Touch?  Taste?  Smell?  Changing our breath can also help.  

Here are some grounding strategies you could try:

  • Say aloud what things you see around you
  • Pet your cat slowly
  • Breathe in and out slowly 3 times
  • Place you feet near a heater
  • Open your freezer and feel the cold on your face
  • Eat a piece of sour candy
  • Ask for a hug 
  • Stretch
  • Touch a tree
  • Take your dog for a walk
  • Press your feet into the floor
  • Listen to your favorite song
  • Wash dishes, paying attention to the warm water.  
  • Take a shower
  • Sing or humm
  • Play with puddy or a fidget toy
  • Toss a ball back and forth with someones
  • Do a yoga pose

These grounding exercises can help you return to the present and get relief from strong feelings, disturbing memories or dissociation.  However, grounding is NOT “one size fits all.”  Some of these exercises might not help at all.  Try different things.  Make a list of what feels good and keep it with you. The more grounding skills you try, the more you know what works for YOU.  

These and many more grounding strategies are taught in my DBT Skills Groups.