Sometimes, with PTSD, we tend to lose ourselves and disconnect from the reality around us. It can be difficult to stop when we find ourselves tumbling down the rabbit hole, but it can be done. One way is to focus in on actual sensations of touch, sound and sights. The PTSD on-line Coach offers suggestions for how to ground yourself and prevent disconnecting from reality. Some of the simple grounding activities you can try are:
- Place your feet flat on the floor. Focus all of your attention on your feet and feel the floor underneath them.
- Walking. Walk slowly while focusing on what it feels like to take each step.
- Examine an object. Pick up any small object and focus on it. Pay attention to the texture and feel of it.
- Pet an animal. Use a cat or dog that is quiet and calm. Focus on the sensation of touch, the feel of the fur, the peacefulness of the animal.
- Feel the earth. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart. Close your eyes and imagine you’re putting roots down into the earth, making you strong and stable.
- Ice cube. Hold an ice cube. Focus all your attention on the sensations- cold, wet, tingling.
- Name what you see. Look around you and name the things you see. Start with large objects and then move on to smaller and smaller ones.
- Focus on touch. Rub your hands together and clap them. Focus on the feeling, sound and experience.
- Reorienting. Remind yourself where you are, what the date is, when you were born and what you did yesterday.
- Call a friend. Discuss some activity you did together recently.
- Past success. Remember what you did to successfully get past a previous painful experience.
- Stamping your feet. Feel the force, hear the sounds.
As you can see, these are simple exercises that you can do most anywhere at any time. In all of them, you are focusing on something other than unwanted memories. They are easy to do and can be used successfully to keep yourself grounded and in the moment.