Grounding techniques often focus on the five senses: sight, smell, sound, touch, and taste. When your mind is stuck in the past, reminding yourself of the realities of the present is a great way to break free. Here are a few grounding ideas you can use for each of the five senses to help with managing stress:

Sight–Grounding yourself through sight is a great way to regain your sense of self in a tough moment. A good exercise is counting the number of objects you see around yourself in a certain colour. Maybe also try describing your physical surroundings to yourself when you are dissociating. Both techniques may help from getting stuck in a flashback.

Smell–Nothing snaps you back into the present more than a strong scent. Anything from scented candles, essential oils, or scented soaps can be used to help ground yourself. Lavender oil may be helpful. 

Sound–Using sound to ground yourself doesn’t have to be loud or extreme. The soft, natural sounds of your environment are what make an effective grounding tool. Take a moment to listen to birds chirp, the cars drive by, and the wind whistle in the trees.

Touch–Touch is another great way to break out of a flashback or panic attack. Feeling different parts of your body and focusing on the sensations is both self-soothing and grounding. Start with your head and work your way down to your toes–or vice versa.

Taste–Similar to smell, strong tastes can snap you back into the present. Sour lemons, bitter coffee, or spicy peppers can help you reconnect with the present. Sour candy may also work.

Finding Peace Through Grounding Techniques
Grounding techniques are meant to provide some relief from the symptoms of trauma. They can’t undo the damage that has already been done, but they can help us get through the day with less distress. Finding ways to be happy while healing is the priority and grounding techniques help make that possible. Not every grounding technique is going to work for you, and that is okay. Your trauma is unique to your life, and your grounding methods will be as well.