Grounding yourself can be as simple as noticing how you are in the moment and offering yourself some compassion. Here is a list of grounding exercises:
A very powerful ground exercise involves the senses: Take a deep belly breath to begin.
5 - LOOK: Look around for 5 things that you can see, and say them out loud.
4 - FEEL: Pay attention to your body and think of 4 things that you can feel, and say them out loud.
3 - LISTEN: Listen for 3 things you can hear. Say the three things out loud.
2 - SMELL: Name 2 things you can smell. If you can’t smell anything at the moment or you can’t move, then name your 2 favourite smells.
1 - TASTE: Name 1 thing you can taste. If you can’t taste anything, then say your favourite thing to taste.
If you have trouble doing this on your own, I encourage you to have someone you trust to help you through the exercise. You are welcome to download the exercise here.
Mindfulness is a way of dropping out of our busy lives, is a deeper level of grounding and is a practice that requires little effort. The very act of paying attention to a task at hand (washing dishes comes to mind) is practicing mindfulness. If your mind wanders, as it is likely to do, gently (without judgement or negative-self talk) redirect your attention back to the task. Practicing with the breath is another way to be mindful and can help with managing uncomfortable (anxiety-provoking) situations or experiences. Here are a few examples:
Meditation, to me, is the deepest level of mindfulness practice. Meditation is not trying to stop your mind from thinking, it is a way to practice and cultivate a sense of presence and being with oneself, in a different way. I am certainly not an expert and rely on teachers in my practice. Here are some links to meditation practices:
Aline Lapierre (co-authored with Laurence Heller):
For First Responders:
Cheryl Regehr and Ted Bober: