Grounding Techniques

Grounding techniques allow you to remove yourself from unwanted memories, challenging emotions and symptoms of PTSD. They allow you to focus on the present and self soothe when things feel difficult or overwhelming, overall making things feel more manageable. Everyone is different so be mindful of what works for you and what may be more triggering. It will become easier over time, so practice makes perfect!

Sensation can often be important in grounding techniques as it allows the body to physically feel something it comes into contact with. When using sensation, use your senses to concentrate on it further. What temperature is it? What texture or weight? Where in your body does it connect and how does this feel? Use these questions when trying some of the techniques below.

  • Eat or drink something. This could be something hot, ice cold, sour, spicy, or perhaps things like mint. Explore what works for you.

  • Rub hand cream on your hands and notice the sensation. Give yourself a hand massage if this feels comfortable.

  • Have a hot or cold shower or put your hands under running water

  • Hold or squeeze an item. Again, use your senses to explore the item in detail-Find a smell you enjoy and use this when you need it. This could be in the form of a spray, lotion, oil, or candle and so on.

  • 5-4-3-2-1 method uses your senses to notice the things around you and keep yourself in the present. List 5 things you can see, 4 things you can hear, 3 things you can feel, 2 things you can smell and either 1 thing you can taste or 1 thing you are grateful for

  • Body scan. You can do these either on your own or find a guided audio body scan to listen to. Slowly focus on each individual part of your body starting with your head and down to your toes.

  • Breathing. Notice the sensation of the air going in and out of your lungs. Count slowly as you breathe to really focus

  • Stretching and Yoga. This again will connect you to your body

  • Go for a walk or dance. Move your body

  • Sing a song

  • Remind yourself of who and where you are. Notice things in the room you are in.

  • Change room

  • Visualise yourself in a place you feel safe

  • Visualise yourself putting the difficult memories or emotions into a locked vault or safe. Add more defences onto the lock or vault until you feel comfortable that it is locked away

  • Count up to 30 and then back down again or repeat facts or song lyrics to yourself

  • Repeat positive and kind phrases to yourself as many times as you need

  • Plan something you will enjoy doing as a form as self-care. For example, plan and imagine the hot bubble bath you are going to have when you get home and tune into your senses when imagining this.