Grounding Technique

Let’s begin.

  1. Take a deep breath
  2. Notice and name five things you can see around you in your present surroundings
  3. Notice and name four things you can feel or touch around you
  4. Notice and name three things you can hear outside your body right now
  5. Notice and name two things you can smell
  6. Notice and name one thing you can taste
  7. Once you’ve finished, notice if anything is different from just a few moments ago. Are there any shifts, however tiny or subtle, in how your body feels? See if you can put words to what you notice.

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Focusing on your sensory experience in the environment around you prompts you to orient to the here and now. Naming physical objects provide a contextual grounding in time and space that grounds our experience, and serve as the infrastructure for higher cognitive processes. Counting as you do this helps turn your cortex back online, which is needed for emotional regulation, and can often go offline when we are stressed or overwhelmed. 

If it feels right for you, you can carry a small item of food or fragrance with you in your bag or pocket that has a pleasant but intense taste or scent, such as mints, lozenges, gum, essential oils, or perfume.  When you start to feel spacey or going out of the green zone, a pleasant smell or taste is a surprisingly powerful way to ground and become present.