Grounding techniques are a set of tools used to assist individuals to stay in the present moment during episodes of intense anxiety or other over-whelming emotions. Staying in the present moment allows people to feel safe and in control by focusing on the physical world and how they experience it.

How it Works

Grounding is easy to do. Just focus on some aspect of the physical world, rather than on your internal thoughts and feelings (see suggestions below). Focus on the present rather than the past.

Practice your grounding techniques so that they will come naturally when you are upset. Let go of any negative feelings.

Try a variety of techniques and rate the effectiveness of each technique in keeping you calm. Have others assist you in using these techniques by reminding you to practice them and use them as soon as you are feeling emotionally distressed.

Here are some suggestions of grounding techniques, but you can make up your own as well:

  • Notice your body: the weight of your body in the chair; wiggle your toes; the feel of your chair against your back…
  • Stretch. Roll your head around.
  • Clench and release your fists.
  • Walk slowly; notice each footstep, saying left or right
  • Focus on your breathing, notice each inhale and exhale.
  • Eat something, describing the flavours to yourself.
  • Run cool water over your hands.
  • Grab tightly onto your chair as hard as you can then release.
  • Touch various objects around you: a pen, keys, your clothing, or the wall feeling the texture.
  • Carry a grounding object in your pocket, which you can touch whenever you feel triggered, such as a stress ball.