There are different grounding techniques you can try. Our guide can help you find one that works for you.
Before you start
Before you start your grounding exercise, try to rank how you feel out of ten. After grounding, rank how you feel again and compare your two scores. This can help you identify what techniques work best for you and also demonstrate that you can make yourself feel better.
Mental grounding techniques
These techniques focus on what's going on in your mind.
- Focus on your environment: identify 5 things you can see, 4 things you can touch, 3 things you can hear, 2 things you can smell and 1 thing you can taste.
- Recite: recite song lyrics, poetry, affirmations, a passage from a book or scene from a film.
- Alphabet game: pick a category, like 'food', and think of an item for every letter in the alphabet e.g. apple, bread, cookie…etc.
- Safety statements: remind yourself of where you are and that you’re safe. Say the date, where you are and repeat a safety statement like 'I am strong' or 'I am safe'.
- Mental calculations: Go through your times tables. 3 x 2 is…, 3 x 3 is…etc.
- Imagery: 'Visualise' overcoming your fears. For example, you could picture yourself putting them in a box and locking it, a big red stop sign, getting on a train and driving away from your fears.
Physical grounding techniques
These techniques focus on your body.
- Breathing: pay attention to the speed and steadiness of your breath. Try controlling it by inhaling for 3 counts and releasing for 3 counts. Gradually increase the counts to 4 then 5.
- Touching/gripping: touch or tightly hold an object. This could be the coins in your pocket or a pen at work, or you could carry a 'grounding object' in your pocket especially.
- Heels: concentrate on putting your weight into your heels, physically connecting you to the ground. You could try it barefoot on a soft carpet or rug, or if it’s a nice day, in grass or sand.
- Tense and release: try clenching and releasing your fists. You can also tense up your entire body and focus on slowly releasing it, from the forehead, jaw, shoulders right down to your toes.
Soothing grounding techniques
These techniques aim to help you feel calmer and more positive.
- Happy place: think about a place you can relax, feel safe and be happy. It can be real or imagined. This could be a tropical beach, a cosy room with a log fire, high up on a mountain overlooking the world...it's up to you.
- Treat yourself: do something for yourself, or plan it if you can't do it right away. This could be a luxurious bubble bath, reading a good book, eating your favourite food or visiting friends and family.
- Coping statements: repeat coping statements to yourself or write them down. You can do this quickly, or take your time, using your best handwriting and pen. Examples of coping statements are, 'I am strong', 'I am a survivor', 'I can do this', and 'This too shall pass'.
- Affirmations: say loving statements to yourself, or 'affirmations' e.g. 'I am safe', 'I am loved', 'I matter', 'All is well in my world'.