My Favorite Grounding Exercise

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My Favorite Grounding Exercise

image represents grounding

Grounding is an activity done to bring one’s focus back to the present moment. Grounding exercises are helpful any time you are feeling dysregulated. They help calm the mind and focus attention. They are especially helpful for those times the body enters fight, flight, or freeze mode without there being immediate danger. Like when you are angry after seeing a news report, feel shaky while recalling a past frightening event, or can’t seem to get going as vague thoughts of dread swirl in your mind.

You don’t have to allow the imbalance to continue, you can practice grounding whenever you are feeling dysregulated.  Grounding exercises are meant to give you the time and space to focus on your core self here and now.  They allow you to feel your own physical presence and safety in the moment.

One of my favorites is the “5 Senses Grounding,” in which you take the time to walk yourself through your 5 senses.  Slow down and notice 5 things you can see around you.  Slow down to look for details that you don’t always attend to as you go through your day.  Maybe look for 5 things in similar colors.

Start with 5 things you can see and move through your other senses:

5 – See

4 – Touch

3 – Hear

2 – Smell

1 – Taste

Don’t worry about doing it “correctly”.  Relax your breathing and pay attention to the moment.   

It is good to practice grounding exercises before you need them. Practicing an exercise means that when you need it you can use it with increased effectiveness.  Learning how to intentionally use an exercise also allows you to use it in front of others as a means of modeling resilient behavior.  Some, like 5 senses grounding can also be used to help someone else by talking them through it when they are in fight, flight or freeze mode.  

There are other grounding exercises and grounding activities.  Slowly sip a cup of tea, pet your dog or cat gently focusing on the moment, take a walk and pay attention to your surroundings, take your time washing the dishes and enjoy the soap bubbles.  Being aware of what works for you can be helpful so that you can use them when needed.