#Askingforafriend: Exercises to ground us
By Caitlin Rudgear
GCU Office of Student Care
Experiences such as stress, anxiety and trauma triggers can cause us to feel disconnected. This is a common experience, and when it does happen, our attention can go to the list of tasks we need to complete, a worst-case scenario thought or an upsetting old memory. Through grounding exercises, we can practice bringing our attention into the moment, which then can allow us to feel more connected and think more clearly. Give these a try:
Ask yourself the following questions: What are five things I can see? What are four things I can feel? What are three things I can hear? What are two things I can smell? What is one thing I can taste? Pay attention to small details of your surroundings that you might usually tune out.
Describe the steps in performing an activity you know how to do well, such as tying your shoes or making your favorite meal.
Practice the following body awareness activity and notice the sensations in your body that come with each of the following steps:
- Take five long, deep breaths through your nose and exhale through puckered lips.
- Place both feet flat on the floor. Wiggle your toes. Curl and uncurl your toes several times. Spend a moment noticing the sensations in your feet.
- Stomp your feet on the ground several times. Pay attention to the sensations in your feet and legs as you make contact with the ground.
- Clench your hands into fists, then release the tension. Repeat this 10 times.
- Press your palms together. Press them harder and hold this pose for 155 seconds. Pay attention to the feeling of tension in your hands and arms.
- Rub your palms together briskly. Notice the sound and feeling of warmth.
- Reach our hands over your head like you’re trying to reach the sky. Stretch like this for 5 seconds. Bring your arms down and let them relax at your sides.
- Take five more deep breaths and notice the feeling of calm in your body.
All exercises adapted from “Grounding Techniques” by TherapistAid.com, 2018.