by Marianne Vernacchia on 08/17/20
Grounding exercises help calm us down from anxious thoughts and feelings, settle our nervous systems, and ground us in the safety of the here and now. Grounding can be used if you’re feeling overwhelmed, irritable, anxious, panicky, or waking from a nightmare. It can be used to take a break, or reduce discomfort from any distressing thoughts, sensations or feelings.
Here is a list of my favorite 5 grounding techniques:
BREATHE – Breathe in through the nose slowly, so you feel your abdominal cavity fill up as you count to 5, then breathe out slowly through your mouth as you count to 5. Repeat at least 5 times, and as necessary.
“VOOO” EXERCISE – This is an excellent method of calming the autonomic nervous system created by trauma expert, Peter Levine. Sit with your feet on the ground and your hand on your abdomen. Breathe in through your nose and notice your abdomen fill up. Now, slowly say “Voooooooooo” (pronounced Vu with a long u) in a low, chant style of voice, until the air has exited your body. It can help to close your eyes. As you do this feel the vibration move through your body and imagine it going all the way down to your feet. Repeat over and over for 2 minutes.
NOTICE YOUR BODY – Feel your clothing on your body, feel your bottom in the chair, place both feet on the ground and notice how that feels. Rub your legs with your hands, wrap your arms around yourself and hold yourself. Notice how that feels.
BE IN THE ROOM – Notice items around you. List items you see around you. These can be items that you like or they can be neutral items. Example, the picture on the wall, a plant, the fan twirling above me, the lamp, table, rug, etc.
DESCRIBE AN OBJECT – Pick up an object and begin describing it and listing its attributes such as, size, weight, what it looks like, etc.
© 2020 Marianne Vernacchia, MFT#35980