Grounding: Reconnecting to The Moment

Grounding Skills

In a previous blog post, I discussed the differences between healthy and unhealthy coping skills. One type of healthy coping skill is the use of Grounding. Grounding is a type of coping skill designed to turn your attention away from your thoughts, memories, and worries and instead “ground” yourself to the present moment by refocusing your thoughts. Grounding is helpful in coping with anxiety, trauma, dissociation, self-harm, suicidal urges, substance cravings, panic, anger, and more. Grounding techniques can be both physical and mental, allowing you to practice them anywhere.

Physical grounding techniques can help bring you into the present by directing your focus to sensations in the body. Some physical grounding techniques are:

    • Mindful deep breathing (slow breathing exercises focusing on your breathing)
    • Savoring food or drink
    • Taking a walk
    • Moving your body (exercise)
    • Paying attention to the sensations in your body (what your feet feel like against the ground)
    • Utilizing your five senses (focusing and describing 5 things you can see, 4 things you can feel, 3 things you can hear, 2 things you can smell, and 1 thing you can taste).

Mental techniques can help redirect your thoughts away from distressing feelings and back to the present. Mental grounding techniques include:

    • Memory games
    • Thinking of categories (Naming as many movies as you can)
    • Using math (counting backwards from 100 by 7)
    • Reciting Something (a poem, how to preform something)
    • Naming objects you see

Remember, grounding can help you cope with feelings of distress, but does not address what is causing your distress.  For additional support contact a family member, a friend, or a professional. Grounding techniques are not always easy, but they can help once you find the ones that work best for you.

Keli Hinkemeyer earned her Master of Science degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling from St. Cloud State University, MN after completing her Bachelor of Science degree in Chemical Dependency and Community Psychology from St. Cloud State University, MN. She has a history of working with individuals who have spent time in the criminal justice system and are on parole. She has worked with individuals who have had an alcohol, substance, and behavioral addiction. 

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