Tonight I reviewed grounding exercises with a friend who struggling. It is so good to review and practice them otherwise I forget them and have to look them up when I need them for when I am experiencing flashbacks, dissociation (mild), or body memories (the one I hate the most). The picture above is most of the things I grew up feeling as a result of physical and sexual abuse along with mild neglect or things I was called.
I like to use a couple of simple grounding techniques…keeping a rubber band on my wrist and naming all the items in a room of one color and if that doesn’t take the anxiety/panic away down far enough doing what is called 5,4,3,2 and 1.
5,4,3,2 and 1 is a grounding technique that uses 4 of the 5 senses and then ends with a positive statement. It goes like this…Name 5 things that you see in the room with you. Name 4 things that you that you can feel (the chair underneath you, your feet on the floor), Name three things that you can hear right now (radio or t.v. playing in the background, the sound of the fingers on the keyboard, etc.), Name two things you smell right now (or name two things that you like the smell of), and Name one good thing about yourself.
I use these when experiencing body memories or flashbacks of trauma that happened from my childhood or my sexual assault. I have, also, used them during full blown panic attacks along with breathing techniques to calm down. These are so distressing to the folks that have them. I hear a lot of people who have these issues who have never been taught grounding skills and just kind of go why not? It is a simple learning tool that would benefit so many people who suffer from PTSD, anxiety and panic attacks.