Grounding Technique

Let’s begin.

  1. Take a moment to get comfortable. Start by feeling your back against the chair or feel your feet on the ground. Just notice anywhere that your body is making contact with something, anywhere that there is pressure, where you can feel yourself being supported by the earth. 
  2. If your eyes are closed, gently open them and really slowly start to scan your environment, and just wait until your eyes land on something that’s interesting to you. A plant, a picture, a piece of furniture, whatever. And then just take in everything about that object as if it’s the first time you’re seeing it – the shape, the texture, the colour, the size. 
  3. Now come back to yourself and notice your breath, without changing anything about it – just noticing your breath going in and out, rising and falling. 
  4. Then you can come back out and slowly start to move your eyes, your head and neck, until you find some other thing to focus your gaze on. Paying attention to the colours, textures, shapes and sizes of this thing you’re gazing at. 
  5. And then just notice your body, your physical sensations. Any discomfort or pain, or maybe it feels really light. Noticing how your body feels right now in this moment.
  6. And then check out if you can hear any sounds. Noticing if you can hear the sound of traffic outside, or wind blowing, or any other sounds that might be around you.
  7. And then notice if there are any emotions present right now. Not trying to change them, just see if maybe you can name them or give words to them.
  8. And then see if you can pay attention to any smells in the environment. Noticing if there are any particular scents or fragrances lingering in the air around you.
  9. And then notice any thoughts that might also be present right now. No judgement, just noticing the thoughts that come and go in your mind.
  10. Once you’ve finished, just come back to the room. And notice how that was for you. 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.

( i )

Orienting is taking in your environment and everything that’s in it – colours, smells, sounds, what you’re touching – while also taking in your internal sensations – physical, emotional, thoughts.

The nervous system is always doing this automatically outside of our awareness, but is often faulty, especially post-trauma. So orienting is doing this detection with awareness in order to recalibrate our faulty neuroception.

For this exercise, each step alternates between noticing our internal world and our external world. You can play around with how long you spend in each state. You could first play around with alternating it equally, maybe spending about 30-60 seconds on each step. If paying attention to your internal sensations feels less comfortable for you than external, you could ease yourself into it by focussing on the external world for 60 seconds and only focusing on the internal for 10-20 seconds, or vice versa. See what feels right for you.