A Simple Guide to Grounding

Grounding is a strategy that can help you mindfully detach from overwhelmingly painful experiences. It can also help you find your place back in the present. Trauma can take us out of time and space. Grounding is one way of reclaiming the present.

There are countless ways you can ground. A lot of this is trial-and-error. You have to see what works best for you. I recommend you start with physical grounding to see if that may work for you. All of these are options. Simply try an option and see if you feel better. Please try to remain patient and remember that many have to practice a lot to notice a difference. Try one strategy at a time and see what changes when you experiment with it. Look for subtleties, rather than giant changes. Small changes can include feeling more alert, breathing easier, and feeling a little looser.

Physical Grounding

  1. Look at your hands and ask yourself what do your hands feel like. (Hot, cold, tense, fidgety, etc).
  2. Look at your feet and ask yourself what they feel like.
  3. Squeeze the arms of your chair.
  4. Stretch your body.
  5. Ask yourself where you feel the most weighted down in your chair.
  6. Use your senses (What do you see, feel, smell, hear?)

Mental Grounding

  1. Remind yourself that you can be OK and struggle at the same time.
  2. Say affirming things about yourself.
  3. Say something silly to yourself (use your sense of humor).
  4. Remind yourself of your age and abilities.


Ask yourself the following questions to help yourself deactivate:

  1. What thoughts make you feel the most OK?
  2. When do you feel most like yourself?


  1. Make a plan for something enjoyable next week.
  2. Rediscover things that you used to enjoy doing and do them again.
  3. When do you feel the most resilient?

There are many ways to ground that go well beyond this list. As you read and learn more about trauma, you’ll find more information about ways of grounding yourself.

A Simple Guide to GroundingOctober 1, 2018