12 Quick Ways to Ground in the Senses

Grounding exercises can be helpful in many different instances, whether you are experiencing something as horrifying as a panic attack or simply feeling a little disconnected from the world around you. Finding ways to ground in the senses helps to bring you back in to the present moment, and can both calm the nervous system and help to detach from spinning thoughts.

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Here are some of my favorite ways to ground when one is away from home and only has a couple of minutes, or even a couple of seconds, such as in the middle of the workday (or even in the middle of a meeting!).

  1. Step into a bathroom and let your hands run under warm water in the sink. Wash them slowly while bringing awareness to the process.
  2. Take three intentional deep breaths where your mind follows each phase of your breath completely. Feel your body expending and contracting. Notice the temperature of the air passing through you.
  3. Alternating feet, tap your toes on the floor in a slow rhythm, back and forth. Let this balance your nervous system. Keep your mental focus on this rhythm.
  4. See if there is something around you that you can explore with your sense of smell—a piece of fruit, a pine cone, the lotion in your purse. If this proves helpful, you may want to consider carrying a small bottle of your favorite essential oil to smell when you feel ungrounded.
  5. Quickly scan your body to find a place that feels particularly tense. Place your hand on that part of you and feel the heat of your hand bringing warmth to that tension.
  6. Ask yourself if you feel particularly drawn to heat or cold. If heat sounds pleasant, make yourself a cup of tea or coffee and bring awareness to each sip and the warmth of the mug on your hands. If coolness sounds soothing, do the same with a cold glass of water or other beverage. Notice your drink as it passes down your throat and into your belly.
  7. Look around the room you are in, noticing the four corners and where they meet the ceiling. Notice yourself in the context of the room as a whole.
  8. Pick a color, and now look around and try to find everything in the room or space around you that is that color. Let your eyes gaze softly in front of you as those colors now come forward in your consciousness.
  9. Let your mind rest in all the sounds you hear around you. Try to pick out any sounds in your field of vision and what direction they are coming from.
  10.  Let yourself stretch in a small way, even if it is stretching out your fingers. Notice each part of the muscles being stretched and how the movement effects them.
  11. Step outside for a short walk. Notice how the earth is pushing against the different parts of your feet at each point in your step.
  12. Pet a dog or cat. Feel the connection you have to the animal through simply making contact with them.
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Página en español veniendo pronto! Para aprender mas sobre mis servicios, llame (720) 515-5184 o mande un email a rachaeluris@gmail.com.
Rachael Uris, MA, LPC is the owner of Atacama Counseling, LLC, offering sex therapy as well as individual and couple's counseling for issues surrounding sexuality, love, and pregnancy. All services are located in downtown Boulder, Colorado, and are provided in English and Spanish.
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