Grounding Techniques for Thoughts and Triggers

  • Time to read: 9 min.

What is grounding techniques for thoughts and triggers all about. How will this help me with my thoughts and feelings. So I went on a search to see how this would help and found some interesting ways my thoughts and feelings could be managed bu grounding.

What is a Trigger?

A trigger, also known as a trauma trigger is a psychological term that defines an aspect that sets off the memory of a past traumatic experience. If triggers are not resolved and as time goes by, the traumatic events begin to take a toll on your mental health, your physical health, your relationships. Your thoughts and feelings about the event and in experiencing the trigger begins to wear the body down. Sooner rather than later, you will begin isolating yourself from people, situations, or activities that may trigger the bad memories. Grounding techniques will help you in dealing with the triggers.

Loud bangs and the sights of horrific life experiences is enough to cause anyone to be distressed. For people who have post traumatic stress syndrome, the stimuli may be worse because their minds flashback to that horrific time in the past. The mind replays the scene and it’s not just a visual movie.  The smells, the noise their body’s sensations are included as well in the flashback.

Triggers are highly associated with people who have undergone any traumatic or haunting experience. These events may include major accidents, natural disasters, terror attacks as well as military combat.

When someone experiences an event that is traumatic to them such as a job loss, abuse, a death in the family, a car accident, the chances of the memory and thoughts in respect to the event may re-occur. The impact of these memories may result in stress, anxiety, and possibly personality disorders that may stop you from living fully.

What is Grounding?

Grounding has been proved to alleviate the stress, anxiety, social issues, and other chronic health issues triggered by reliving terrifying past events. Grounding is a coping mechanism that helps you connect with the moment using the five human senses.

These five senses are touch, sound, sight, taste and smell. As a result of the combination of the above senses, grounding allows you to focus on the present by engaging in grounding techniques that produce immediate recognition that you are in the here and now not reliving the traumatic event.

For instance, playing cards, singing a song, or rubbing lotion on your skin are simple amazing techniques that can distract you from everything going on in your mind. The whole point of grounding is to assist you in minimizing the possible occurrence of high emotions in times of great distress, of dissociation or undesired flashbacks. Grounding boosts the overall health and state of your body by stabilizing your heart rate, maximizing brain and impulse activities and normalization of the stress hormone cortisol.

The distinction of what grounding technique will work for you varies from one person to the next and is solely based on your personal situation. An effective grounding technique, such as singing, could work perfectly for you but for another person it might be an irritant that is not helpful to them. For this reason, trying various grounding techniques will benefit you greatly to understand which techniques will help you cope.

You may also find that a grounding technique that you used last week isn’t helping this week. Don’t worry about that and try a new grounding technique or revisit others that didn’t previously help and find the technique that helps you today.

How Does Grounding Help Resolve Triggers?

1. Grounding Fosters the Leveling of the Stress Hormone Cortisol Secretion

Cortisol is a hormone that the body utilizes to regulate blood pressure, blood sugar, sleep/wake cycles and reduce inflammation.

How your body uses carbohydrates, fats and proteins and boosts your energy to handle stress is also directly relate to the function of cortisol. Think of cortisol as nature’s built-in alarm system. It’s your body’s main stress hormone. Cortisol works with certain parts of your brain to control your mood, motivation, and fear.

Specific grounding techniques like sleeping helps to decrease the secretion of cortisol. Research indicates that when someone feels stressed and anxious, recommending a good rest would be doing great justice for them. Over time, high levels may cause weight gain and high blood pressure, disrupt sleep, negatively impact mood, reduce energy levels and contribute to diabetes. Further research proves that 9 out of every 10 people record minimal stress, irritability, and depression if they get enough rest.

2.Grounding Facilitates Heart Rate Variability

HRV is a medical concept of measurement which determines stress levels by analyzing the intervals and variations of a heart. It is exceptionally vital to keep stress levels in check as anxiety and depression could result in instability of the autonomic nervous system.

The consequence of this imbalance is heightened chances of attacks from chronic diseases such as cardiac-related complications, depression, and death in the worst-case scenario. Activities like yoga and tai chi can regain the autonomic nervous systems balance, which is crucial for the efficient functionality of vital body organs like the heart and lungs. The impact of yoga is closely associated with grounding.

3. Grounding Increases Brain Activity

By actively engaging in the moment, it is easy to get distracted from undesired thoughts and memories from the past. Grounding reverses this nature by calming an overloaded mind. This, in turn, creates a conducive brain environment that allows millions of thoughts to exist all at once.

Most importantly, grounding helps to minimize the tension in muscles by redirecting the energy to sections of the body where the energy is needed.

4. Grounding and Anxiety, Stress and Depression

There are many documented articles about the use of grounding to help alleviate the effects of stress, depression, and anxiety. This is because grounding has been proved to be one of the most effective coping mechanisms to utilize.

Unlike other forms of medicine, grounding techniques for anxiety can be done anywhere with anyone as long as you have the focus that you need. The whole purpose of grounding is to helping you comprehend, acknowledge, and own your true self.

5. Grounding and Dissociation

Dissociation is the process of disconnecting from familiar surroundings. It can include disconnecting from the environment, friends, family, or all of these. Dissociation can be useful as it helps you cope with the trauma when it is happening and may be utilized later on to avoid the initial trauma by avoiding people, the environment, and objects that bring up the bad memories.

Overtime the dissociation may not be helpful to you any longer. As dissociation is really all about not being present then the best way to not utilize dissociation is to become present again. Utilizing grounding techniques that assist in keeping you present may be of great help. You can do this yourself or with a mental health professional.

6. Grounding for Nightmares

Nightmares can be terrible experiences. Some dreams may keep bringing up terrifying pictures that will leave you vulnerable for a long time. There is a high chance that you will not be getting the sleep needed to have your body function optimally. Fortunately, grounding can be very helpful in dealing with nightmares.

7. Grounding for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

Post-traumatic stress disorder can develop as a result of many situations. Whatever the case, grounding is one of the most recommended therapeutic treatments for PTSD.

PTSD comes with symptoms such as difficulty in sleeping, flashbacks, and nightmares, among others. Grounding can help to work on your sense of smell, touch, taste, sight, and sound.

Grounding Techniques

The sensitivity that comes with different types of grounding techniques means that even the best mechanism may work well for one but will be a nightmare for another at the same time.

This means that if one does not work for you, do not be afraid to keep trying new ideas. Adventure might be the solution you have been looking for all this while. Most importantly, never forget that asking for help when needed is a strength not a weakness.


Ones sight is often seen as the sense of the body. When distressed this sense is of great help to assist in knowing you are not in the same situation, with the same person, that you are safe. When in your home and the distress begins, look around the room for your personal belongings, your favorite things that you like to look at.

Go outside in your yard and look at the trees or flowers. Use your eyes to validate that whatever the distress is your dealing with is not currently happening. Grounding experts recommend you to keep your eyes open as this ensures that you are self-aware.

Observe everything in your immediate environment. This means taking note of objects, their shape, color, and patterns. Another option is to count all the objects in your surroundings. You can also watch your favorite TV show or movie, play a game or complete a puzzle.


We all use our hearing to ground ourselves. In our homes we know the creaks of the floor, or the sound the furnace makes when it turns on or the quiet sound of our children playing that alerts us to they are into something we need to check out.

Sound ideas that can bring you into the present stretch far and wide. They may include reading out loud, talking to someone special, or listening to your favorite songs. Find music that calms you and brings you back even when you are disconnected from yourself. Sing to the lyrics of the song over and over as is will help you remember that someone somewhere understands your situation.


A safe sense of touch can be a positive thing to ground us to validate we exist, we are here in this present moment.

A friendly hug to validate someone cares. The scratch the relieves the itch of dry skin. Rubbing your hands warmly, holding an ice cube and concentrate on the resulting sensation as the ice melts, or taking a shower.

Place your bare feet on the floor or walk on the grass barefoot. You will have different sensations. The floor may be cold or warm while the grass may be wet, dry, or have a tingly feeling. Take a hot or warm shower as this will help you relax. Walk around your room as you touch everything in sight. Go outside and try touching the grass, soil, stones, trees and anything else.


When it comes to scent, smell everything that you can, provided they are within your reach. This may include colognes, detergents, plants, food, spices, scented candles, and oils. The point is that you are not restricted.

You are free to explore as long as whatever you smell helps calm your mind and bring it to the present moment. Smell something that reminds you of good memories. For instance, get a toy that reminds you of fantastic childhood memories and pick up the scent. You can also use a cologne that reminds you of a loved one, say a spouse. Sniff anything sharp to bring you into the moment. You can try sniffing mint or scented candles.


To reconnect with your sense of taste, you need to eat something bitter, spicy, or sweet.

For instance, take a bite of pepper or lemon. The stronger the taste, the more you come back into the real world. The best thing about spicy and sour food or snacks is that they activate your taste buds.

The sourness or spiciness is like a shock to your system. Soon, you will begin to connect with the real world by focusing on the feelings that exist at the present moment. Bite, suck, or drink something to distract you from deep thoughts. Bite a lemon or taste some pepper.

Be careful and use caution when tasting spices such as hot sauce or peppers that you are not ingesting large quantities that may adversely affect your throat and digestive system.

Triggers occur as something has caused someone to feel upset and frightened and something sets off a flashback transporting you back to the time and place of the traumatic event.

Grounding is a technique to alleviate triggers associated with emotional distress. For best results, one has to try different grounding techniques to find out which combination works best for you.

The point of paying attention to the senses is to get closer to your immediate environment. A familiar environment makes you feel safe, reducing the fear you may have from nightmares and flashbacks. Noticing things via your senses will help you come back to your real peaceful world.

For more grounding techniques please see the post Grounding Tools By The Five Senses

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