Do you get overwhelmed by your emotions and have a hard time calming yourself? Do you feel numb and dissociated? Do you have trauma responses that lead you to get stuck in your memories of the past?
If so, here are ten ideas for ways to ground yourself.
- Sing one of your favorite songs.
- Pick a color and name as many things as you can think of that are that color.
- Sit quietly and listen to the sounds in your environment. See how many you can identify. Don’t focus on the meaning of the sounds, just notice the sounds themselves.
- Do a crossword puzzle or Sudoku.
- Eat a snack mindfully. Pay attention to the taste and texture of what you are eating. Chew every bite 50 times.
- Count to 200 but skip any number that has the number 3 in it (e.g. 13, 32, 73).
- Blow some soap bubbles.
- Play with an animal, a child, or a friend who is able to stay in the present moment.
- Create something: draw, paint, color, sculpt, knit, sew, crochet.
- Take a walk outside and try to notice what is around you. If that is too difficult, count every step you take (1, 2, 3, 4….)
You may have to experiment to find grounding techniques that work well for you. If you try to ground yourself and you can’t do it, don’t despair. Just pick another grounding technique and try that one. Different things work for different people.
Once you feel your emotions have decreased to a manageable level, it is a good idea to get some support from somebody who will sympathize with you about having had a trauma response or a painful emotion. Call your friend, partner, family member, or therapist and just report that you had a hard time, it was upsetting, and you were able to ground yourself and wanted to connect with someone. Connecting with someone, even briefly, will help you feel less alone.