Dissociation and Grounding

Last week I was really struggling with dissociation so I compiled this list of grounding techniques personalised to me but effective for many.

When dissociated it can be challenging to think clearly and access skills so hopefully having this written list will be helpful to refer back to in the future:

  • 5 things you see, 4 things you hear, 3 things you touch, 2 things you smell, 1 thing you taste
  • Get up and touch everything red…. then blue….. then green, etc whilst saying the name of the object
  • Balance on the wobble board
  • Ice diving / ice / water on face
  • Drink ice cold water
  • Go outside in the cold with minimal layers (appropriately!) and shock the system
  • Go on the trampoline
  • Untie a tightly knotted piece of string
  • Spend time with my little sisters playing puzzles or board games – use participate skill
  • Smell tiger balm or other strong scents
  • Do maths in my head e.g. 1,2,4,8,16,32 as high as I can go. Or prime numbers. (To activate a different part of my brain)
  • Play catch with someone alternating left and right hands
  • Or bounce a ball
  • Name cars, sites, people, patterns and signs around me and describe them factually
  • Heel-heel toe-toe
  • Push feet into the floor or hands against each other with as much pressure as possible
  • Use the punching bag
  • Stair-running
  • Have a cold shower – or alternate temperatures – and use mint shower gel
  • Chew gum
  • Half smile
  • Rub hands together really fast
  • Stamp on the floor or jump up and down
  • Squeeze / massage my arms or hands (non self-destructively)
  • Do stretching exercises like swinging arms around to activate
  • Imagery – imagine visually zooming out so that where you are gets smaller and smaller and further and further away. Zoom out as far as the street, the city, the country, the Earth, the universe. Then zoom in again; visualising “coming back down to Earth” until you have landed, right where you are
  • Do some active cleaning or reorganising, mindfully
  • Watch Impractical Jokers or Friends and laugh out loud
  • Ask myself if I am avoiding any difficult feelings. If so, mindfulness of current emotion and attend to that if appropriate
  • Write
  • Body scan (last resort as can be triggering/ lead to increased anxiety or dissociation!)
  • If functional i.e. the spaciness is not getting in the way of me doing what needs to be done, then work on radical acceptance: “I am feeling dissociated right now, for now, and that is okay…”



5 thoughts on “Dissociation and Grounding

  1. 🙂 snap! I just found an old hand-out on grounding techniques while tidying my room and blogged about it on my blog – there’re a list of techniques there too, thanks for listing your here, I’m going to try a few out !!

    Liked by 1 person

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