Updated: Oct 9, 2019
What does it mean to be grounded? If you are feeling distanced from your body, here are some tips on how to be present, aware of your body, and lovingly nurture your emotional well-being.
Good questions to ask yourself are:
~ Do you want to be grounded?
~ Or do you dissociate from your body because it’s easier/less painful?
~ Are you afraid of your emotions?
~ Do you know what it feels like to be in your body?
~ Do you know what it feels like to be grounded?
~ How do you feel about your body?
~ Do you blame your body?
~ Are you upset with your body for betraying you with illness or emotional pain?
~ When do you dissociate - what happens immediately prior?
~ What are you thinking, are you feeling?
~ What are the warning signs that you’re becoming ungrounded?
Possible Physical Signs That You are Dissociating from Your Body
1. Tension in body.
2. Anxiety in body
3. Tightness in chest.
4. Difficulty breathing or quickening of breath.
5. Blurred vision
6. Numbness of body or specific body parts.
8. Floating sensation
It is important to remember that everyone’s body is different. Find out which grounding skills work for you and practice them everyday. The most important factor in making grounding skills effective is to practice them when you are feeling emotionally good. Then if you begin to dissociate away from your body, you will be well-practiced in your chosen techniques.
Ways to Practice Grounding
1. Make a decision to want to stay grounded, and do the inner work to feel your uncomfortable emotions.
2. Learn to recognize your own personal warning signs that you are about to dissociate. Learn to identify your common emotional triggers.
3. Practice 1-3 daily habits that ground you into your body.
4. Practice grounding skills as often as possible, especially when you are feeling good.
5. Journal about your dissociation away from your body, and your process with grounding back in.
18 DAILY GROUNDING HABITS
1. Create a Calm Place: Find a safe place in your home or outdoors to "condition yourself toward calm." Breathe and meditate in this same place every day.
2. Take a Break from Bad Memories: Visualize setting aside overwhelming memories, and imagine how the past could have happened in a happier way. Enjoy these imagined memories instead and anchor the associated good feelings in your body.
3. Awaken Your Senses to Return to the Present Moment: Change your sensory input to come back into your body. Sight: Change what you see by going for a walk. Touch: Give yourself a hand massage with lotion. Sound: Put some music on and dance how you are feeling right now. Taste: Eat a vegetable or a fruit slowly and mindfully, grateful for every bite. Smell: Go outdoors and spend time inhaling the scent of a flower.
4. Practice Joy: Become absorbed in a joyful activity. Paint, draw, dance, bake, garden. Spend 30-60 minutes devoted to doing what brings you joy each day.
5. Express Verbally: Yell into a pillow. Sigh loudly. Hum your emotions. Release inner tension through your voice when no one is around.
7. Write or Draw in a Journal: Free-write, scribble, swear, express all your current emotions in uncensored detail in a private journal.
8. Breathe: Take ten deep breaths. Inhale through your nose. Exhale through your mouth.
9. Exaggerate Your Tension: Sense into the areas of your body that feel tense or numb and tighten them as much as you can. Repeat tensing and relaxing until your muscles are tired enough to release and relax.
10. Stop and Take Breaks: When negative emotions take over your consciousness and overwhelm you, visualize a stop sign. Say, "I need a break right now. Please stop."
11. Practice Affirmations: When you feel good emotionally, practice saying caring statements such as, "I am loved. I am safe. I am forgiven. I am good. I deserve happiness." Anchor and associate these loving statements with the good feelings they create in your body.
12. "I see...": When you are dissociating from your body, look around and speak or think about what you see.
13. Self-love: Look into a mirror and say, "I love you." Gaze into your own eyes and hold your gaze for five minutes with love.
14. Reverse Negative Thoughts: Play a game for 30 minutes a day. Set a timer. Every time you think a negative thought, immediately voice or speak an opposite positive thought.
15. Powerful "Now" Statement: Practice powerful presence statements - all day - when you feel good as they are more difficult to believe when you feel bad. Repeat a simple statement that feels powerful to you such as, "I am here now. I am safe now."
16. Identify Your Triggers: Keep a running list of what emotionally triggers you.
17. Exercise: Exercise everyday for 15-30 minutes to siphon off emotional steam. Listen to affirmations or uplifting music while you exercise.
18. Pray the Serenity Prayer: "God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, And wisdom to know the difference." Create a journal page with one column listing the things in your life you can change for the better, and another column listing the things you cannot change. Practice accepting what you cannot change.