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Making Use of Grounding Techniques to Stay in the Present

In early sobriety, it is easy to lose our connection with the present moment. We begin to fret about past shames or what the future may hold, and lose sight of the moment in which we are living. This is particularly common in recovering individuals who have experienced trauma or painful life events that continue to crop up in their daily lives. Grounding is a technique that can help us stay connected with the present moment and be less likely to fall victim to past regrets, shame, and future worry.

Grounding techniques generally involve using the senses as a way of reestablishing or retaining our connection with the here and now. Dr. Matthew Tull, in a 2017 article for Very Well Mind entitled 5 Grounding Techniques for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, explains, “Grounding is a particular type of coping strategy that is designed to “ground” you in or immediately connect you with the present moment. Grounding is often used as a way of coping with flashbacks or dissociation for people with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). In this way, grounding can be considered a variant of mindfulness. Like mindfulness, grounding techniques allow us to take in what is occurring around us as a means of letting go of past and future worry.

Cami Walker, in a 2009 Psychology Today article entitled Get Grounded, presents another, more spiritual concept of grounding: “Grounding yourself is a way to build a relationship with Earth. Grounding means to make a conscious connection between your self and the source of your life force energy. Your job, relationship and home are not your true source of life force energy. Your spirit does not need to be grounded; rather grounding provides spirit with a GPS fix on your body. If you already work with chakras, or the energy system of the body, you know that in many spiritual practices, grounding emanates from your first chakra, your ‘energy root’ at the base of your spine.” Whether we believe in the psychological or spiritual aspect of grounding, utilizing the techniques can help free us from being overwhelmed by the depression and anxiety resulting from placing our thoughts in the past or future.

Grounding involves making use of the five senses to get ourselves centered in the present moment. Examples include making a mental list of everything we see around us, listening to soothing music, focusing on smells, or touching something like a cool cloth or ice cube. Tull further explains, “The nice thing about using grounding as a coping technique is that it can be done in any environment. You might be home alone or out in public, but once you feel that flashback or dissociation coming on, you can use grounding to move your focus back to the present.” As we continue practicing grounding techniques, we will find that it gets easier to snap ourselves back to the present moment and stop our past or future worry from snowballing into overwhelming feelings of shame, regret, depression, or anxiety.

Your life can become one of mental, physical, and spiritual health in sobriety. You can embark upon the rewarding journey of recovery by making the decision to seek help today. Resilient House, located in beautiful Shreveport, Louisiana, brings together the highest quality behavioral health and addiction specialists, spiritual guides, and holistic experts to help you develop all the tools necessary to live a full, happy life in sobriety. For information about treatment options, please call today: (833) 242-6431