How do grounding techniques work?

Grounding techniques make use of all five senses.

First, use breathing techniques to slow down your breathing, bringing down your heart rate.  Deeper, slower breathing also helps slow down racing thoughts.

Next, look around yourself and identify the following, focussing on each of these sensations: – 5 things you can see – 4 things you can touch – 3 things you can hear – 2 things you can smell – 1 thing you can taste

Then, name them aloud or in your mind depending on where you are and how comfortable you feel.

For example, if you’re sitting indoors, you can tell yourself, “I can see a chair”. As you focus on the chair for a few seconds, note its features (colour, shape, etc.).

Then focus on the next object you can see—        “I can see a cushion.” Repeat the observation.

In this way, consciously focus on each item you are sensing by identifying it and concentrating on the sight, sound, smell, texture, or taste.

By the end of this exercise, you should feel more rooted in your immediate physical surroundings.

You don’t always have to stick to the same order of senses.  The essential part is to use all of your senses to focus on some aspect of your surroundings.