What Is Grounding

Grounding is a self-soothing skill to use when you are having a bad day or dealing with a lot of stress, overwhelming feelings, and/or intense anxiety. Grounding is a technique that helps keep you in the present and helps reorient you to the here-and-now and to reality. It can also serve as a distraction from the difficulties you are dealing with.

The 5-4-3-2-1 Game

This grounding exercise is about using all 5 of your senses to soothe: seeing, hearing, smelling, touching, and tasting.

  • Name 5 things you can SEE in the room with you: Ideas for self-soothing through sight: pictures, art, stargazing, etc.
  • Name 4 things you can FEEL: Ideas for self-soothing through touch: fabric, rocks, hands, pets, a soft blanket, your feet on the floor, the chair on your back, etc.
  • Name 3 things you can HEAR: Ideas for self-soothing through sound: your favorite song, nature sounds, fingers tapping on the keyboard, stand-up comedy, etc.
  • Name 2 things you can SMELL: Ideas for self-soothing through smells: a scented candle or lotion, food aromas, soap, etc.
  • Name 1 thing you can TASTE: Ideas for self-soothing through taste: sweet, sour, chewy foods, etc.

Note: the ways in which you choose to self-soothe will need to be effective and not cause additional problems for you - for instance, if you tend to overeat, then you may not want to self-soothe with food. Instead, name 1 or more good things about yourself.

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