Grounding Techniques


This is a compilation of grounding techniques we have collected over the years that have been a really big help to us. I do not have reference as to where I got them from but I know they were from online sources back in the 90’s. If you recognize these, please let me know so that I can give proper credit. Thanks!

  • Get ice or ice water
  • Breathe – slow and deep, like blowing up a balloon.
  • Take your shoes off and rub your feet on the ground.
  • Open your eyes and look around. See you are in a different place than then.
  • Move around. Feel your body. Stretch out your arms, hands, fingers.
  • Peel an orange or a lemon. Notice the smell. Take a bite. Focus on the taste.
  • Pet your cat, dog or rabbit.
  • Spray yourself with favorite perfume.
  • Eat ice cream! Or any favorite food. Pay attention to the taste.
  • Hold a stuffie. Pay attention to the feel of it.
  • Repeat “this is now, not then”
  • Call a friend, or your T.
  • Take a shower.
  • Take a bath.
  • Go for a walk. Feel the sunshine (or rain, or snow!)
  • Count nice things.
  • Dig in the dirt in your garden.
  • Turn lights on.
  • Play your favorite music.
  • Hug a tree!
  • Touch things around you.
  • Frozen Orange – put your nails into it – the cold and the smell can bring you back
  • Pull up the daily newspaper on your browser. Notice the date and read a current article.
  • Stomp your feet to remind yourself where you are. Press your feet firmly into the ground.
  • Try to notice where you are, your surroundings including people, sounds like the t.v. or radio.
  • Concentrate on your breathing. Take a deep cleansing breath from your diaphragm. Count the breaths as you exhale. Make sure you breath slowly so you don’t hyperventilate.
  • Cross your legs and arms. Feel the sensations of you controlling your body.
  • Call a friend and ask them to talk with you about something you have recently done together.
  • Take a warm relaxing bubble bath or a warm shower. Feel the water touching your body.
  • Mentally remind yourself that the memory was then, and it is over. Give yourself permission to not think about it right now.
  • Keep a rubberband on your wrist and pluck it — feel the slight sting as it touches your skin.
  • Realize that no matter how small you feel, you are an adult.
  • Go outside and sit against a tree. Feel the bark pressing against your body. Smell the outside aromas like the grass and the leaves. Run your fingers through the grass.
  • If you are sitting, stand. If you are standing sit. Pay attention to the movement change. Reminding yourself — you are in control.
  • Rub your palms, clap your hands. Listen to the sounds. Feel the sensation.
  • Speak out loud. Say your name or significant others name.
  • Hold something that you find comforting, for some it may be a stuffed animal or a blanket. Notice how it feels in your hands. Is it hard or soft?
  • Eat something. How does it taste, sweet or sour? Is it warm or cold?
  • If you have a pet use that moment to touch them. Feel their fur and speak the animals name out loud.
  • Visualize a bright red STOP sign to help you stop the flashback and/or memory
  • Step outside. If it’s warm, feel the sun shining down on your face. If it’s cold, feel the breeze. How does it make your body feel?
  • During a non-crisis time make a list of things that are in your house and what room they are in. Give this list to friends that you can call during a flashback so they can help remind you what is around you.
  • During a non-crisis time make a list of positive affirmations. Print them out and keep them handy for when you are having a flashback. During a flashback read the list out loud.
  • Take a walk outside and notice your neighborhood. Pay attention to houses and count them.
  • Listen to familiar music and sing along to it. Dance to it.
  • Make a list of known triggers and give it to your therapist. Ask them if they can help you find a way to desensitize those triggers so they aren’t quite so powerful.
  • Write in your journal. Pay attention to yourself holding the pencil. Write about what you are remembering and visualize the memory traveling out of you into the pencil and onto the paper. Tear the paper up or seal it in an envelope. Give it to your therapist for safekeeping.
  • Go online and talk with an online friend. Write an email.
  • Imagine yourself in a safe place. Feel the safety and know it.
  • Watch a favorite t.v. program or video. Play a video game.
  • If you have a garden, work in it. Feel your hands running through the dirt.
  • Wash dishes or clean your house.
  • Meditate if you are comfortable with it.
  • Exercise. Ride a bike, stationary or otherwise. Lift weights. Do jumping jacks.

Another list of grounding techniques:

1.) Visualize internal safe place.

2.) Visualize setting aside overwhelming /memory/emotion/experience

3.) Change sensory experience/input:

Sight: look at a picture, read a book

Touch: allow yourself to feel the chair you are sitting on, touch ice, hold a smooth stone

Sound: talk to someone, listen to music, TV

Taste: eat something

Smell: perfume, favorite scent

4.) Concentrate, become absorbed in activity.

5.) Express something verbally — go to an empty room and yell, if necessary

6.) Write in your journal.

7.) Do safe anger work with your therapist.

8.) Breathing exercises.

9.) Relaxation exercises.

10.) Self-hypnosis

11.) Connect with internal support/resources

12.) Visualize a “STOP” sign

13.) Use positive affirmations. “I am strong.” “I am safe now.” “I can take care of myself.”

14.) Connect with the here and now

15.) Look into a mirror and talk to yourself

16.) Transfer your feeling/memory into a safe “container” either through visualization or by creating an actual box where you can write the feeling/memory on a piece of paper and slip it into the box leaving it to be dealt with together with your therapist.

17.) Monitor self-talk, change negative to positive.

18.) Identify cognitive distortions and replace with counter statements

19.) Dance

20.) Repeat a grounding phrase: “I’m here right now.” or “I am safe.”

21.) Give yourself permission to address one thing at a time (“Rome wasn’t built in a day.”)

22.) Identify (in writing) all problems you’re facing. Then divide them into two groups:

a.) Those you have control over, and

b.) Those you cannot control

Concentrate on only one of those issues that CAN be controlled.

23.) Decide what is important and what is not.

24.) Keep It Simple

25.) Hold a safe object (smooth stone, stuffed animal, watch, ring, cup or mug, etc.)

26.) Pray (e.g. Serenity Prayer)

27.) Exercise

28.) Draw

29.) Find a safe person

30.) Listen to a tape of your therapist

31.) Listen to a tape of self-affirmations

32.) Listen to music

33.) Make a cup of warm chamomile tea

34.) Put a washcloth on your forehead

35.) Take a bubble bath

36.) Have a cigarette

37.) Do something mundane like washing dishes

38.) Concentrate on your breathing

39.) Listen to a relaxation tape

40.) Dribble a basketball

41.) Curl up in a warm

42.) Cozy blanket

43.) Call a friend

44.) Take long, slow, deep breaths

45.) Hold an ice cube in your hand

46.) Most importantly… Identify the Trigger

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2 responses to “Grounding Techniques

  1. I found this list comprehensive and very helpful. I posted it to my own blog i hope you dont mind.
    carol anne

  2. Definitely okay with us. We are glad the list is out there and helping more folks that way!

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