[Read the transcript below]
Hi there, it’s Dr. Courtney Raspin.
Today I want to teach you my favourite grounding technique. It’s quick, it’s simple, it’s easy to remember, and so I like to teach it to my clients very early on in therapy.
Now grounding is extremely important because it brings us into the here and now. It makes us present. If you’re struggling with anxiety, or depression, or even trauma, there’ll be times where you feel as if you’re really not inside your body. Either you’re up here feeling anxious, overwhelmed, panicked and very much in your head. On the other hand, maybe you’re down here, cut off, dissociated, completely numb and very low in energy.
Now whether being up here or down here, when we’re in those places, it’s very difficult to feel in control of the decisions we make and that’s why we tend to do things that maybe aren’t so good for us, that don’t bring us in a life fulfilling direction.
This grounding technique is really, really effective and extremely important with regards to learning how to regulate and how to become here in the present.
So my favourite technique is called 5-4-3-2-1. I love it for three reasons. First of all, it’s portable. You don’t need any special tools or techniques. Wherever you are, all you need is yourself to do it. Secondly, it pulls on the senses. It pulls on your vision and your hearing and your smell, and those things are fantastic for bringing us inside of the body, anchoring us into the present moment. And the third reason is that it’s easy to remember. It’s 5-4-3-2-1. So no matter how distressed you are, it’s going to be all right, you’ll be able to whip this one out and use it whenever you need it.
How does it work?
The first thing you need to do is to tell me five things that you’ve seen, okay? Start with your vision.
Then you move to four things that you feel.
Then you move to three things that you can hear.
Two things that you can smell.
And then finally, one good thing about yourself.
How does it work in practice?
I am going to do it with you right now so you can see how you might use this yourself.
Okay, take a breath, it’s always good to take a breath.
So let’s start with, what are five things that I can see? Okay, I can see my computer in front of me. And in the image, I can see my lovely plant over there. And the fan, that’s three, okay. I can see right here, you can’t quite see it, my lovely favourite cushion that I have in my office. And finally I can see a lamp, it’s a little bit outside of your vision, but I see a lamp. So that’s five things I can see.
Four – feel. What can I feel? I can feel my feet against the floor. I can feel my fingers rubbing together. I can feel the breath coming in and out of my throat right here. And finally, yeah, my cushion again, it’s lovely. Lovely and soothing, I can feel my cushion and the softness of it.
Okay it’s five, four, three, hear. I can hear the bell outside. I can hear traffic. What else can I hear? Oh, I can hear doors closing and offices outside of my office. All right, so that’s three things I can hear.
Smell, two. Now there’s not anything here I can smell so I’m going to choose two smells that I like. So if there aren’t any smells around or you can’t catch any, choose smells that you like. So two smells I like. Oh, fresh cut grass and baking cookies, those are two of my favourite smells.
And number one, one good thing about myself. I’m a good cook, that’s a good thing about myself, so I’m a good cook.
So, five things that you can see, four things that you can feel, three things that you can hear, two things that you can smell, and finally one good thing about yourself.
Now after doing this and going through it one or two times, you should start to feel calmer, more present, more in your body and then hopefully you can feel you have control over what you do next, and that you will make healthier choices.
Give this a go and let me know what you think.
And if you have other grounding exercises that you like to do that really help you, then I’d like to hear about those as well.
So until next time, bye.