Grounding for PTSD - How To Ground In The Here & Now.

 

 

Grounding is a vital strategy for PTSD management.

 

This helps with dissociation, flashbacks, waking from nightmares. 

 

Grounding For PTSD

Source: About.com 

 

As the name implies, grounding is a particular way of coping that is designed to "ground" you in the present moment. In doing so, you can retain your connection with the present moment and reduce the likelihood that you slip into a flashback or dissociation. In this way, grounding may be considered to be very similar to mindfulness.

 

To ground, you want to use the five senses (sound, touch, smell, taste, and sight). To connect with the here and now, you want to do something that will bring all your attention to the present moment. A couple of grounding techniques are described below.

 

  • Sound: Turn on loud music

  • Loud, jarring music will be hard to ignore. And as a result, your attention will be directed to that noise, bringing you into the present moment.

  • Touch: Grip a piece of ice

  • If you notice that you are slipping into a flashback or a dissociative state, hold onto a piece of ice. It will be difficult to direct your attention away from the extreme coldness of the ice, forcing you to stay in touch with the present moment

  • Smell: Sniff some strong peppermint

  • When you smell something strong, it is very hard to focus on anything else. In this way, smelling peppermint can bring you into the present moment, slowing down or stopping altogether a flashback or an episode of dissociation.

  • Taste: Bite into a lemon

  • The sourness of a lemon and the strong sensation it produces in your mouth when you bite into it can force you to stay in the present moment.

  • Sight:  Take an inventory of everything around you

  • Connect with the present moment by listing everything around you. Identify all the colors you see. Count all the pieces of furniture around you. List off all the noises you hear. Taking an inventory of your immediate environment can directly connect you with the present moment.

 

 

Enlist the Help of Others

 

If you know that you may be at risk for a flashback or dissociation by going into a certain situation, bring along some trusted support.

 

Make sure that the person you bring with you is also aware of your triggers and knows how to tell and what to do when you are entering a flashback or dissociative state.

 

 

 

Grounding Exercises

 Source: Living Well .Org 

 

It is useful to have a selection of grounding exercises that you can draw upon to keep your mind and body connected and working together, particularly for those times when your are becoming overwhelmed with distressing memories, thoughts and feelings.

People who have experienced childhood sexual abuse or adult sexual assault can sometimes be confronted by flashbacks or intense memories of what was done, to the point that they are feel as if they are back there, re-living the abuse all over again.

 

Grounding exercises are a way for you to firmly anchor yourself in the present.

 

The following grounding exercises are about using our senses (see, hear, smell, taste, touch) to build our mind and body connection in the present. In working through the grounding exercises suggested here, you might find one or two that work for you – remembering only to use the exercises that you feel comfortable with.

 

  • Remind yourself of who you are now. Say your name. Say your age now. Say where you are now. Say what you have done today. Say what you will do next.

  • Take ten breaths, focus your attention on each breath on the way in and on the way out. Say number of the breath to yourself as you exhale.

  • Splash water on your face.

  • Sip a cool drink of water.

  • Hold a cold can or bottle of soft drink in your hands. Feel the coldness, and the wetness on the outside. Note the bubbles and taste as you drink.

  • As you wake, during the night, remind yourself who you are, and where you are. Tell yourself who you are and where you are. What age are you now? Look around the room and notice familiar objects and name them. Feel the bed your are lying on, the warmth or coldness of the air, and notice any sounds you hear.

  • Feel the clothes on your body, whether your arms and legs are covered or not, and the sensation of your clothes as you move in them.

  • If you are with other people, and you feel comfortable with them, concentrate closely on what they are saying and doing, and remind yourself why you are with them.

  • If you are sitting feel the chair under you and  the weight of your body and legs pressing down onto it.

  • If you are lying down, feel the contact between your head, your body and your legs, as they touch the surface you are lying on. Starting from your head, notice how each past feels, all the way down to your feet, on the soft or hard surface.

  • Stop and listen. Notice and name what you can hear nearby and in the distance. .

  • Hold a mug of tea in both hands and feel its warmth. Don’t rush drinking it, take small sips and take your time tasting each mouthful.

  • Look around you, notice what is front of you and to each side, name first large objects and then smaller ones.

  • Get up, walk around, take your time to notice each step as you take one then another.

  • Stamp your feet notice the sensation and sound as you connect with the ground.

  • Clap and rub your hands together, hear the noise and feel the sensation in your hands and arms.

  • Wear an elastic band on your wrist (not tight) and flick it gently, so that you feel it spring back on your wrist as it

  • If you can, step outside, notice the temperature of the air and how much it is different or similar to where you have just come from.

 

 

 

Grounding Info - via HealthyPlace.com

 

  • Bring up today’s newspaper on the web, notice the date. Read something fun!

  • Breathe slowly and steadily from your core. Imagine letting fear and worry go, evaporating along with each breath.

  • Trace your hands against the physical outline of your body. Experience your own presence in the world.

  • Call a friend and have a chat.

  • If you are feeling ‘stuck’, change how you’re positioned. Wiggle your fingers, tap your feet. Pay attention to the movement: You are in control of what your body is doing, right here and now.

  • Eat or drink something. Is it hot, or cold? Sweet, or sour?

  • Meditate, if that’s OK for you. Otherwise use distractions like television or music to help settle down.

  • Use your voice. Say your name or pick up a book and read the first paragraph you find out loud.

  • Look at yourself in the mirror. Smile, even if that’s the last thing you feel like! How does that feel? What can you see? (If  negative thoughts come to mind, write them down to look at later but let them go for now. You’re anxious enough as it is.)

  • Write out what’s going on. Keep writing until you start to notice it makes a difference, lets some of the things you’re anxious about out.

  • Take a shower/bath. Notice the sensations of the water.

  • Write somebody you care about an email.

  • Imagine yourself in a familiar, comfortable place. Feel the safety. Know it.

  • Take a look outside. Count the number of trees and street signs.

  • Exercise. Jump up and down on the spot. Try some gentle yoga, or ride a bike.

  • Hold onto something comforting. Maybe a blanket or an old stuffed toy.

  • Laugh. Even if that’s hard. Just the act of laughing about something, anything can break that spinning out of control feeling.

  • When you’re not too stressed, make a list of the things that provoke your anxiety. Take it to your therapist and ask them to help you find ways to desensitize you to some of those things. Then those triggers won’t be quite so powerful, and your anxiety coping skills will work better.

  • If you get PTSD flashbacks, when you’re feeling OK, make a list of the furniture in your home and what room it’s in. Give the list to a friend you can call to help you focus on what’s now and safe.

  • List 5 really positive things in your life. Put the list where you’ll see it and remember that there’s more to the world than just panic and fear.

  • Think about the last week. Was there a day you didn’t have so much anxiety? Remember how it felt to be less anxious than you are right now. What was different? What can change?

 

 

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