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Grounding is a technique that helps keep someone in the present. They help reorient a person to the here and now, and in reality. Grounding skills can be helpful in managing overhelming feelings or intense anxiety. They help someone to regain their mental focus from an often intensely emotional state. Grounding skills occur within two specific approaches: Sensory Awareness and Cognitive Awareness.

  • Name 5 things you can see in the room with you.
  • Name 4 things you can feel
    (ex: "chair on my back" or "feet on floor").
  • Name 3 things you can hear right now
    (ex: "fingers tapping on keyboard" or "tv").
  • Name 2 things you can smell right now
    (or, 2 things you like the smell of).
  • Name 1 good thing about yourself.


Some Ideas for Mindfulness:

  • Keep your eyes open, look around the room, notice your surroundings, notice details.

  • Hold a pillow, stuffed animal or a ball.

  • Place a cool cloth on your face, or hold something cool, such as a can of soda.

  • Listen to soothing music.

  • Put your feet firmly on the ground.

  • FOCUS on someone's voice, or a neutral conversation.

  • Bring up today's newspaper on the web, notice the date. Read something fun!

  • Breathe slowly and steadily from your core. Imagine letting fear and worry go, evaporating along with each breath.

  • Trace your hands against the physical outline of your body. Experience your own presence in the world.
  • Call a friend and have a chat.

  • If you are feeling "stuck", change how you're positioned. Wiggle your fingers, tap your feet. Pay attention to the movement: You are in control of what your body is doing, right here and now.

  • Eat or drink something. Is it hot, or cold? Sweet, or sour?

  • Meditate, if you are able.

  • Use your voice. Say your name, or pick up a book and read the first paragraph you find out loud.

  • Look at yourself in the mirror. Smile, even if that's the last thing you feel like! How does that feel? What can you see? (If negative thoughts come to mind, write them down to look at later, but let them go for now. You're anxious enough as it is.)

  • Write out what's going on. Keep writing until you start to notice it makes a difference. Let some of the things you're anxious about out.

  • Take a shower/bath. Notice the sensations of the water.

  • Write somebody you care about an email.

  • Imagine yourself in a familiar, comfortable place. Feel the safety. Know it.

  • Take a look outside. Count the number of trees and street signs.

  • Exercise. Jump up and down on the spot. Try some gentle yoga, or ride a bike.

  • Hold onto something comforting. Maybe a blanket, or an old stuffed toy.

  • Laugh. Even if that's hard. Just the act of laughing about something, anything, can break that spinning out of control feeling.
  • When you're not too stressed, make a list of the things that provoke your anxiety. Take it to your therapist and ask them to help you find ways to desensitize you to some of those things. Then those triggers won't be quite so powerful, and your anxiety coping skills will work better.

  • If you get PTSD flashbacks, when you're feeling OK, make a list of the furniture in your home, and what room it's in. Give the list to a friend you can call to help you focus on what's now and safe.



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