Grounding techniques comprise a variety of practices that can limit negative thoughts and emotions by connecting one back with the present moment. Grounding techniques are often used for those suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and dissociation, but can also be helpful in managing anxiety, panic, and addiction cravings. One of the great things about the practice is that it can be done almost anywhere to provide immediate relief from intrusive and anxiety-inducing thoughts and feelings. Grounding techniques can distract one from the intrusion of unwanted or uncomfortable thoughts. According to DID Research, “They work by engaging the senses and occupying the mind in a non-destructive fashion. Many grounding techniques are subtle and can be done anywhere without other people noticing, though some rely on specific sensory experiences or are made available through specific apps for phones or ipads. Grounding techniques are not the same as processing techniques and do not involve getting in touch with one’s emotions or struggles. Instead, they help to orient one in the present and to achieve a healthy medium between being cut off from or overwhelmed by emotions.” When anxiety occurs as a result of unwanted thoughts and feelings, grounding can provide a sense of relief. There are a variety of techniques that can be used to “ground” one in the present moment. Many incorporate the use of the senses to return focus to the here and now. For example, we can listen to soothing music, touch or hold various objects around use, drink a hot or cold beverage, or take a cool or warm bath or shower. Dr. Stephanie Cordes, a naturopathic doctor in Guelph, Ontario, suggests using 5-4-3-2-1 Grounding Technique. In this technique, one describes five things they see, four things they can feel, three things they can head, two things they can smell, and one good thing about themselves. Dr. Cordes explains, “Try out the technique in different situations, you may find it works well for insomnia, anxiety, cravings when quitting smoking or for general relaxation. These techniques work best if practiced regularly (every morning for example) for about 2 to 3 months in order to create the habit, as remembering grounding exercises in a moment of stress or panic is difficult if it is not something we do on a regular basis.” These practices allow us to take our minds off of the past or future worry and reconnect with the present moment as we are experiencing it.
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