One of the hardest parts of having lived through severe childhood trauma is the ways it affects daily adult life. Flashbacks, depression, negativity and feelings of needing to escape are only a few of them.
How can we mitigate these life-altering side effects? Grounding techniques.
There are as many methods to grounding as there are people who do it. However, I’m going to share some of the ones I have found helpful to me.
First Things First
But first we need to discuss what it is like when one is grounded. By definition being grounded means being completely aware and conscious during the moment you are living in. You rarely worry about what might happen and instead focus on what is happening right then and what you can do to move successfully into the future. You feel completely in control of your mental and emotional state and are not easily moved by what others think of you or your circumstances.
Of course, there isn’t a person on the planet who does not feel out of control and not grounded sometimes in their lives. But the difference between people who are and who are not grounded is the way they handle the situations that threaten their mental health.
That having been said, lets now explore grounding techniques that can be used in everyday life.
Keep a large calendar about and mark each day off as they pass so you can see quickly what day it is to help you stay in today. I have even had a large calendar wrapped in plastic placed in my shower to aid me in not panicking while bathing.
Utilize breathing techniques. By intentionally breathing in and out slowly you allow yourself to calm down and center yourself in the now.
Call a friend. Be honest with them telling them you are needing some help getting grounded in today. You should discuss before you have a crisis with them what to say and not to say.
Wiggle your fingers and toes, hold an ice cube in your hand. Do things that help you to leave the past and reenter the present.
Eat or drink something sour. The sensation will help you into the present.
Talk to yourself. State your name, your current address and the date out loud. You can repeat these things and more as many times as you need.
Before you find yourself un-grounded, form a safe place in your mind to escape to. It can be a warm beach, a forest, a glen anywhere that you feel safe and secure.
Hold something soft and cuddly. It can be a dog, your cat or a stuffed animal.
Wrap up in a weighted blanket. These items are found online and cost a pretty penny, but they are worth it if they work for you. A heavy quilt can work as well, but they can be too warm in the summer.
Make a list of the positive things going on in your life and the things you are grateful to possess. Start small with your ability to breath, see, hear etc. and then work your way up.
The above techniques work for me, but they may not for you. Explore what helps you remain in the present and practice them. It takes time to master pulling yourself out of the past and into the present, but what choice does one really have?
I hope you find the things that work for you. When you do, you will be more in control of your life than ever before.
I know I am.
“Expecting is the greatest impediment to living. In anticipation of tomorrow, it loses today.” Lucius Annaeus Seneca