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Jan 07 2015

Grounding Exercise – Feet, Seat and Back (Using Focused Attention on Sensations)

Synonyms (Alternate Titles): Into The Body Exercise, Physical Containment and Support Exercise, Connecting Body To Earth Exercise, Mind Body Ground Linking Exercise, Awakening Physical Presence Exercise, One Location One Time Exercise.

Healing Mechanisms: Focused attention on bodily sensations.

Focused attention is a skill of the mind.

Sensation is an attribute of our biology, our nervous system. Tactile sensations, the feeling of the body touching something, is one of our 5 senses – the sense of touch.

Sources: Community Resiliency Model, Stewart Canter, Heidi Hanson

Comments:

This is a basic grounding exercise that you may use if feeling stressed, anxious, panicked, hyped up, triggered, having racing thoughts, feeling dissociated, spaced out or exhausted.

Goal:

The goal of this exercise is to harness the skills of the mind – focus and attention – and an attribute of our biology – sensation – to transform the state of the nervous system from activation to calm alert. The goal is to successfully use our own willpower and intention to return ourselves to our own Resiliency Zone. This exercise also helps us emerge from numbness by activating one of the 5 senses – tactile sensations – that may have gone numb as a result of trauma. It also helps us to deepen the experience of being in a body and having a body, reducing dissociation.

Instructions:

Sit in a location where you will be able to relax and focus for a few minutes.

1. Focus your attention on the sensations in your feet resting on the floor.

Rest your attention on that area for a little bit. Relax. Be curious. Watch. Breathe.

Begin to hone in on specific sensations. What do you notice?

Is there pressure on any part of your foot?
Are there different temperatures?
Do you feel any sensations like slight tingling, your shoes touching your feet, or air moving around?

Describe in your mind or out loud the characteristics of the sensations on the bottoms, insides, and on the surface of your feet.

Feel what it feels like to be supported by the floor. Feel how solid the floor is.You may think to yourself, “The floor supports me.” You can slide or push your feet against the floor to make that sensation stronger if you want. Feel the floor just a little bit longer than you feel inclined to. Breathe.

2. Focus your attention on the sensations in your bottom and thighs sitting on the surface of the object you are sitting on (chair seat, bench etc.).

Rest your attention on those areas for a little bit. Relax. Be curious. Watch. Breathe.

Begin to hone in on specific sensations. What do you notice?

Is there pressure on different parts?
Are there different temperatures?
Do you feel any slight prickling or tingling, sensations of your clothing, or of the air?

Describe in your mind or out loud the characteristics of the sensations.

Let your awareness include the seat of the chair. Now let your awareness expand to include the legs of the chair, and the floor. Can you sense that below you there is a place where the feet of the chair are supported by the floor? It’s OK if it feels kind of vague or just a general awareness. Just rest with whatever sense you have at this moment of the chair and of the floor under the chair.

3. Focus your attention on the sensations in your back leaning against the back of the chair.

Rest your attention in the area for a little bit. Relax. Be curious. Watch. Breathe.

Begin to hone in on specific sensations. What do you notice?

Is there pressure on certain parts of your back?
Are there different temperatures?
Do you feel any stiff areas, soft areas, sensations of tingling?

Describe in your mind or out loud the characteristics of the sensations.

Sense the back of the chair. Sense how the back connects into the chair seat and legs, and how the legs are supported by the floor.

These are the characteristics of the specific location where you are located in this present moment.

You are in one location and one time. You may think to yourself, “I am located here. I am supported by the floor. This is the place I am located in this moment.”

Finish by just sensing if there are any ways you feel different now than when you started the exercise.

Congratulations! By doing this exercise, you put some time and effort into your recovery and healing. Even if you only felt a tiny bit, you still taught your own nervous system something of what it feels like to go from a place of activation to a place of calm-alert. You practiced a skill that you can use anytime you need to to return yourself to your Resiliency Zone. You empowered yourself to self-regulate your own nervous system. Well done. You get 5 Stars for helping yourself with the following Trauma Healing Goals:

Goal 1. Danger to Safety/ Finding Safety – Did you feel even a little bit safer in your body when sensing the support provided by the floor?Trauma Healing Goal Safety

Goal 2. Activation to Calm Alert / Self-Regulation – Did the grounding exercise reduce activation, meaning the feeling of being hyped up inside, stressed and anxious, to some degree? Even if it was only a little, that is a great start.Trauma Healing Goal Self-Regulation

Goal 3. Dissociation to Groundedness / Into The Body – Did you feel less floating, diffuse and scattered and more solid, heavy and clear-headed? Even if just a little bit, the exercise helped to reduce dissociation.Trauma Healing Goal Into The Body

Goal 4. Overwhelm to Simplicity – When you were focusing your mind, did it reduce mental overwhelm and chaos at all?simplicity

Goal 8. Using the Five Senses – Did you experience the tactile sense of feeling the floor, chair, and back of the chair? Experiencing tactile sensations is one of your five senses that can get completely numbed out during PTSD and require doing activities like this to return to normal functioning.Trauma Healing Goal Using Five Senses

Thanks for reading and I wish you the very best on your trauma healing journey!

__________________

Heidi Hanson is an artist and writer in Asheville, North Carolina currently working on an illustrated book chronicling her journey healing from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

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Comments

  1. […] This is a basic grounding exercise that can be used any time, any place against stress, anxiety, confusion, tiredness. Source: new-synapse.com […]

  2. […] Quello che segue è un esercizio base di radicamento in 3 passi e può essere usato in qualsiasi momento, in qualsiasi luogo (fonte: new-synapse.com). […]