Grounding & self soothing techniques for emotional regulation

When you are feeling activated within the body and are experiencing distressing emotions it is helpful to focus on aspects of the physical world, rather than on your internal thoughts and feelings.  Below are grounding techniques to help you to focus and ground your awareness in the present.

  • Sensing the Breath

Observe your breath and feel the sensation of breathing within your body.  Explore the depth of your breath and begin to slowly deepen your breath.

  • Engage one or more of the five senses (touch, taste, smell, sight, and sound).


  • Clench your fists then relax your hands, repeat.
  • Touch your hands to the ground
  • Hold an object and feel into the sensations. Idea: Touching each bead on your Mala whilst repeating a mantra such as Sat Nam, Om, I am I am or your favourite affirmation can be very effective.
  • Identify opposite sensations hot/cold, soft/hard, comfortable/uncomfortable, relaxed/tense
  • Touch or massage your feet, arms or legs
  • Engage in rhythmic activities (knitting, biking, swimming, dancing)
  • Wrap a blanket around yourself


  • Swallow any saliva in your mouth
  • Remember the taste of your favorite food
  • Drink water
  • Sip herbal tea
  • Eat delicious healthy food and describe the flavors


  • Breathe deeply to identify any scents in the room
  • Use essential oils ie. lavender, sandalwood


  • Identify colors, textures, shapes, people in your environment. eg. Identify and name 3 distinct colors in the room
  • Look at nature. At the trees, plants, birds etc


  • Listen to the sound of your breath
  • Identify 3 different sounds you hear in the room/far off in the distance
  • Listen to the sound of your voice. What do you notice about the way you are speaking?
  • Listen to mantra music
  • Say positive affirmations to yourself

Grounding & self soothing techniques for emotional regulation     cont.


  • Releasing and soothing emotion through movement

If emotions are quite intense it can be helpful to release endorphins and help the NS adjust through movement to ease the intensity.

  • Shake the hands or body
  • Stretch the body
  • Play out the emotion or sensation through movement. ie. running on spot, pushing away etc
  • Dance
  • 26 x Frog Pose
  • Self touch to connect to self

Technique compliments of Peter Levine

Step One:

“Just feel what goes on between the hands and the body. Sometimes they will feel an energy flow or a change in temperature or a feeling… I just ask them just to keep their hands there, it could be a few moments, or 5 or 10 minutes, until they feel some kind of shift.” Peter Levine




Step Two:

“Then take the upper hand and put it on the belly. And again just wait until there is some shift, until there is some flow, and sometimes people, if they are unable to sleep or they are afraid, they will have nightmares. If they do simple things like that, they will fall into sleep much more easily.” Peter Levine


“Compassion can be described as letting ourselves be touched by the vulnerability and suffering that is within ourselves and all beings. The full flowering of compassion also includes action: Not only do we attune to the presence of suffering, we respond to it.”  Tara Brach

By | 2018-06-18T17:27:12+00:00 June 18th, 2018|Counselling, Yoga & Meditation|0 Comments

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