Martine L Pilling, Child and Adult PsychotherapistCounselling, Psychotherapy & Counselling Supervision Services
Farnham, Surrey

Flashback and grounding techniques

Would you like to know how to ground yourself when you are feeling anxious or having a flashback?

Grounding is a technique that helps keep you in the present and out of what you are remembering or reliving from the past. It can allow you to get back into the present, into what we call the here-and-now.

Grounding skills can help to manage intense and overhelming feelings, anxiety or flashbacks. They help you to regain your mental strength and focus.

The following grounding exercises are about using our senses (sight, sound, smell, taste and touch) to build our mind and body connection in the present. In working through the grounding exercises suggested here, you might find one or two that work for you – remembering only to use the exercises that you feel comfortable with.

Waking in the night with flashbacks?-

As you wake, if you can, tell yourself who you are and where you are. What age are you now? Look around the room and notice familiar objects and name them. Feel the bed your are lying on, the warmth or coldness of the air, and notice any sounds you hear. Remind yourself of todays date.

Feel the clothes on your body, whether your arms and legs are covered or not, and the sensation of your clothes as you move in them.

If you are with other people, and you feel comfortable with them, concentrate closely on what they are saying and doing, and remind yourself why you are with them.

If you are sitting feel the chair under you and the weight of your body and legs pressing down onto it.

If you are lying down, feel the contact between your head, your body and your legs, as they touch the surface you are lying on. Starting from your head, notice how each past feels, all the way down to your feet, on the soft or hard surface.

Stop and listen. Notice and name what you can hear nearby and in the distance.

Continue to remind yourself of todays date, who you are and that you are safe. What you are remembering is not happening now, at was in the past. Today you are safe.

Things you can try?-

Hold a mug of warm tea or coffee in both hands and feel its warmth. Don’t rush drinking it, take small sips and take your time tasting each mouthful.

Look around you, notice what is front of you and to each side, name first large objects and then smaller ones.

Get up, walk around, take your time to notice each step as you take one then another.

Stamp your feet notice the sensation and sound as you connect with the ground.

Clap and rub your hands together, hear the noise and feel the sensation in your hands and arms.

Wear an elastic band on your wrist (not tight) and flick it gently.

Smell a cut lemon or onion or something strong in scent.

Hold an ice cube in your hand.

If you can, step outside, notice the temperature of the air and how much it is different or similar to where you have just come from.

Keep reminding yourself of the date and who you are. Say to yourself what you are remembering is in the past and that you are now (age) years old, you are safe, and that it is not happening now.

Grounding Tips and Techniques. Grounding 2

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