Grounding techniques

Grounding is a particular type of coping strategy that is designed to “ground” you in or immediately connect you with the present moment. Grounding is often used as a way of coping with flashbacks or dissociation.
For me, a lot of grounding techniques seem to be more triggering, and resulted in more dissociating, which is the opposite of what you want when you are trying to Ground. This is a list of techniques that have worked for me. I’ll add to it, as I find new ideas.

Mints, or sour candies or minty gum
I can focus on the taste of the mint or candy. This brings me to the present. It is especially good for when I’m driving or in a crowd of people, because it’s socially acceptable to eat mints or chew gum/candies

lavender, rose, gardenia, vanilla
Scents work really well, too. I focus on the smell, and the fact that it is in the present, 2014, not in the past. I have roll on perfumes made from essential oils of these scents. Lavender is a given, for calming. The other three all remind me of my Grandparents , in different ways. Vanilla reminds me of baking with Grandma, Gardenia is the base scent of her perfume, and rose reminds me of my Grandpa’s rose bushes.

naming what I see around me
As simple as it sounds, name what I see. I might pick a color, naming blue things, or pink things, but the idea is to recognize what is around you.

look in the mirror
This is good for flashbacks of childhood, because I feel too young, and tiny afterwards. Looking in the mirror, seeing that I am grown up, telling myself how old I am, what year it is, all of that is helpful and affirms that it is over.

Putting on music, upbeat and cheerful, and singing along helps me. It lifts my mood, but it also brings me back.

naming what you hear
Naming what you hear in the present can be helpful. The clock, the traffic, the birds, the dogs, ext. Recognizing all of that can bring you back to the present moment.

4 thoughts on “Grounding techniques

  1. I often use a grounding technique I learnt in therapy a few years ago, and it’s always my first suggestion if ever someone asks me how I manage those ‘unhappy feelings’.

    (I do the ‘list five things you can see/smell/hear/taste/touch)

    I’m super glad you blogged this. 🙂


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