More threads by Cat Dancer

Grounding Techniques
from Mosaic Minds
Retrieved October 2007

Triggering, as it is generally used in this community, refers to being transported mentally or emotionally back in time to when the abuse was occurring. Perhaps something that someone said reminded a part of you about that time, maybe even on an entirely subconscious level. It may be as severe as a flashback or "abreaction", or it could result in a generalized sense of anxiety and terror. In order to help you "ground", or get back into the present day, members of the Mosaic Minds community have contributed some ideas of things that they do to help themselves when they have gotten triggered.

One of the fastest ways to ground, or bring yourself back from the past mentally is to shock your body of sorts. Many people recommended ice or ice water for this. Holding an ice cube is the simplest way. Filling a bowl, or even the sink with ice cubes and then covering the ice with water will allow you to put your hand or arm in the cold water. You can even splash the water on your face.

In general strong sensory input of any kind will help. Smells can help. Spritz some of your favorite perfume. Peel an orange or a lemon. Vanilla is also a strong aroma. Ammonia snaps might be handy to have nearby.

Sometimes when we get very scared, we try to become invisible by doing things like closing our eyes, or holding our breath. Being conscious of these things, focusing on breathing slowly and deeply as opposed to shallowly and rapidly can help us get our bearings and calm down. Opening our eyes and noticing the things around us can help us reorient to the here and now.

Get involved with your body. Take your shoes off and rub your feet flat on the ground. Remarkably, doing this can be really "grounding". Move your body. Again, this reverses the "get invisible" reaction. Get up and move around if you can. Wave your arms. Jump up and down. Pay attention to how your body feels in a physical sense.

Keep telling yourself "That was then, this is now". Say it outloud. Notice things that reinforce that knowledge. Get in touch with where you are. Chances are you are having a hard time remembering that the memory, whatever it is, is not happening now. Look around you. See where you are. Be aware of what is different in this place than what was in that place. Get up and touch objects. Feel their reality. Make it a point to "See 5 things. Name 5 things. Touch 5 things." Sometimes remembering it that way can get through the haze of memories. Have a calendar nearby that has the year prominently displayed.

Sometimes having an item that you know you couldn't possibly have had back then helps remind you that it's now, and couldn't possibly be happening. Notice this object and pay attention to it when you are in a more settled state. Reinforce that this is an item that will help you ground should any of you get triggered.

If there is another person in the house, talk to them. Ask for a reality check. Call a friend, if no one is home. Call your T.

Once you get somewhat more settled, do something that normally calms you down anyway. Take a warm bubble bath. Play your favorite computer game. Watch a fun movie. Go for a walk. Have one of your favorite comfort foods. Read a good book.

Quick List of Things to Do to Ground:

  • Get ice or ice water
  • Breathe - slow and deep, like blowing up a balloon.
  • Take your shoes off and rub your feet on the ground.
  • Open your eyes and look around. See you are in a different place than then.
  • Move around. Feel your body. Stretch out your arms, hands, fingers.
  • Peel an orange or a lemon. Notice the smell. Take a bite. Focus on the taste.
  • Pet your cat, dog or rabbit.
  • Spray yourself with favorite perfume.
  • Eat ice cream! Or any favorite food. Pay attention to the taste.
  • Hold a stuffie. Pay attention to the feel of it.
  • Repeat "this is now, not then"
  • Call a friend, or your T.
  • Take a shower.
  • Take a bath.
  • Go for a walk. Feel the sunshine (or rain, or snow!)
  • Count nice things.
  • Dig in the dirt in your garden.
  • Turn lights on.
  • Play your favorite music.
  • Hug a tree!
  • Touch things around you.
These things all sound good but one of my triggers happens when we are out for a car ride.I was abducted at age 5 by a man in a volks wagon he made me do things then let me go.
I'm 51 now and still feel like that 5 year old when ever I see a volks wagon.
I tell myself do not go there you are safe but before I know it I see that little girl in the volks wagon and I'm re-living it over again.Last weekend on the way to visit my daughter I saw 3 volkswagons pass in front of me, I closed my eyes I turned my head I hummed to myself but nothing seem to help I just became fearful.
How can I stop reliving this over and over again god I'm 51 now enough is enough.


Account Closed
Grounding Exercise

My therapist taught me this exercise and I thought I would share it. It helps to bring you out of a flashback or when your suddenly triggered, scared.... to put you back into your body.

The only 'rules' is to go as quickly as possible and to keep track of the countdown on your fingers. It can be done anywhere, you can talk out loud or say it in your head. You can even do to this exercise on the computer.

Counting from 5 - 1

5. I See - Name 5 things that you see
5. I Hear - Name 5 things that you hear (if a room is quiet you can also make some noises like clapping your hands)
5. I Feel - Name 5 sensations in your body (not your feelings), or touching things around you and say how they feel.

4. I See - Name 4 things that you see
4. I Hear - Name 4 things that you hear
4. I Feel - Name 4 sensations that you feel.

Do the same exercise by naming 3 I see, I hear, I feel. Then go to 2 things and finally one thing that you see, a sound that you hear and a something that you feel.



Account Closed
Re: Grounding Exercise

I have tried a few times and it has worked to put me back squarely in my body. :)


I recently found this meditation at It is a grounding meditation, or observation exercise that is similar to the above exercises. When done daily it helps develop your mental muscle to effortlessly always be in the present moment. Thoughts, feelings, daydreams are simply oberved like clouds or like a movie, as opposed to getting all wrapped up and overwhelmed by them.

I have been doing this exercise for about 4 weeks now, and have noticed amazing changes. Nothing, absolutely nothing has helped me as much as this has. It is definitely great self-therapy.

The meditation is a free mp3 download at:

Regards, Cinna
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