Grounding is essential for me. This is a great tool for those dealing with symptoms related to dissociation and anxiety. By using the world around you to bring yourself back to reality; you allow yourself to feel calm and anchored within your body. I have found that it’s best to try out a couple of different methods instead of settling for just one.
A quick disclaimer: I am not a mental health professional. All advice shared within this post is from my own personal experience. It can take a lot a lot of trial and error to find a method that works for you. If you are struggling with your mental health I highly suggest seeking professional help. Ultimately, please remember, what works for me may not work for you.
How To Practice Grounding
Become your own narrator
I love this method for dissociative symptoms as it’s perfect for bringing you back to reality. It’s a little bit like adding a narrative to your own life. For this method you’re really just stating the facts:
- Your name
- The date
- Where you are
- What you’re doing
I also think it’s impactful to bring your attention to the smaller details of the world around you e.g. The way the wind feels against your skin.
Tune into your senses
When you go into a state of panic it’s easy to focus on the unpleasant physical symptoms that come with that. This is when it’s extremely useful to tune back into your senses. Try to think of:
- 5 things you can see
- 4 things you can touch
- 3 things you can hear
- 2 things you can smell
- 1 thing you can taste
Adjust your temperature
Try holding an ice cube in your hand or a mug of tea. Having the change in temperature can bring you back into your body. While doing this technique it is important that you focus on the sensation. If you’re holding a warm mug you could focus on how the heat feels against your skin. Alternatively, if you chose the ice cube method you could pay attention to how long the ice takes to melt.
Here are some ways you could utilise temperature for grounding:
Do you have a favourite hoodie or blanket? Now is the time to get them out. Perhaps your find the smell of lavender particularly soothing? Invest in a lavender essential oil. You could even just focus on the voice of someone your with (that’s if they make you feel comfortable, of course).
Wherever you find comfort it can be really useful to have something that resembles that thing with you. When you begin to feel overwhelmed, get out your comfort object and bring all of your attention to it.
As mentioned previously, grounding can be incredibly personal. It might take a couple of tries before finding something that works for you. It’s also something that has to be practiced regularly so you can get the best results from it.
Do you practice grounding? If so, let me know your favourite grounding techniques in the comments below!