Last week, I shared about my personal experience with PTSD and I have also shared previously about my struggle with anxiety. Due to PTSD and anxiety I will sometimes experience flashbacks and panic attacks. A grounding skill/technique is a tool you can use to help yourself stay in the present. It “grounds” you in the here-and-now and can be used to manage intense anxiety or emotions.
There are so many different types and different ones work for different people. One of my favorites is simple and it uses the 5 senses. I find it to be particularly helpful for flashbacks because it requires me to use my senses to remind myself that I am in the present, not the past of my trauma. You go through the 5 senses and use each one to help reorient yourself.
- Name 5 things that you can feel
- Name 4 things that you can see
- Name 3 things that you can hear
- Name 2 things that you can smell
- Name 1 thing that you can taste
I find it most helpful when I am specific. Instead of saying “the rug” saying “the purple fuzzy rug” helps ground me better. All coping skills take time to learn and it takes patience but I find this one really helpful. It is great because it can be done anywhere and does not require any equipment or anything.