For the month of May, we are going to be discussing ground techniques. When a person has suffered from a traumatic experience they are prone to anxiety, flashbacks, and other uncomfortable experiences. Grounding Techniques help to control the symptoms by focusing away from troublesome thoughts, memories, or worries by refocusing on the current moment.
The grounding technique 5-4-3-2-1 involves using your five senses to draw your attention away from disturbing thoughts, memories, or worries. As you move through them, the number of items to notice decreases.
To start, we are using the sense of sight. There is more to this than noticing what is around your immediate area. Try to find things you may not have seen before, such as grooves in the wall or spots on the carpet. These looked over items can include light and shadows of various objects. Try to notice five different things.
Let’s move on to our next sense, which is touch. Find four things you can feel. Pay attention to how the clothes feel on your body. If you are outdoors or near a window, can you feel the sun on your skin? You can even pick up objects to notice their texture and heft.
Thirdly, what are three things you can hear? During this part of the exercise, you want to focus on the sounds, which generally fade into the background. Such as a fan, a lawn getting mowed, or the sound of music playing.
Smell is the next part of this exercise. Do you notice two scents? Can you smell an air freshener? Is someone cooking food? You may also detect a nearby candle or flowers.
Lastly, what is one thing you can taste? To perform this, you want to have mint or gum handy. Upon arriving at this step, pop into your mouth. Focus on the flavors you are picking up.
Next time you start to feel yourself getting pulled into your thoughts or other symptoms, give this grounding technique 5-4-3-2-1 a try. This technique also works for anxiety.