Create Calm When Someone Is Upset – Grounding

Here are techniques you can use when anyone is upset or triggered.

These "grounding" exercises can help take people out of their primitive or survival brain and out of panic in a very short time.

We find them useful for ourselves, (because the perfect storm can happen to anyone, and knowing how to calm yourself can prevent intense stress, and reduce reaction based decisions) and with those we love... And even with perfect strangers!

We hope you enjoy them!

Create Calm When Someone Is Upset – Grounding 1

Download MP3

Print this 1-Page PDF of Grounding Exercises and post it where you are likely to see it during times of distress. We don’t always think clearly when we are overwhelmed or anxious. Choose what feels helpful to you. 

This audio (above) by co-hosts Rick Wilkes and Cathy Vartuli covers what it means to be “grounded” along with some basic grounding techniques.

What does it mean to be energetically “grounded?” 

Briefly, it means to feel connected and present in our body, HERE… NOW. Strong and balanced on the earth.

We’d like to cover some basic grounding techniques. When we start reconnecting with the body, sometimes we can find triggers that feel overwhelming. Here are some techniques that help us ground and regroup.

  • If you’re calm enough… just keep tapping. You are obviously very connected to the feelings.
  • If the feelings are too intense, see if you can put the issue aside for now. Some people imagine putting the emotions or issues in a box and closing the lid. This tends to work short term until you can get help or support to work through it. It can also help you to use the other techniques listed here.
  • EFT Tapping is not necessarily grounding (especially with the tapping on the head and upper body).
  • If you’re feeling less calm, re-grounding with your present day surroundings is critical. Open your eyes and look around.
  • Draw your attention to body sensations, temperature. How cold are you? What do you feel?
  • Stomp your feet, or clap the insides of your wrists and ankles to draw energy and sensation there.
  • Shift of focus to HERE NOW. What color is your couch? Can you feel the texture? How are you sitting on it? Which side? (spatially orient yourself).
  • Use your intellectual mind. How much did this chair cost? Think about a technical question from work.
  • Distract yourself… How about those Cowboys!?
  • Wash your face and hands with warm water.
  • Get something (preferably warm) to eat. It helps reset the primitive brain. After all, we didn’t have time to worry about washing up or a warm meal when a saber tooth tiger was after us!
  • Laughter often helps. Do you have something funny to watch?
  • Give your body some choices about what might help it feel safer… Sit here or there, warmer or colder, go for a walk or lie down. This engages the cerebral cortex, helps you feel safer.
  • Remind yourself you are currently in a safe place, right here, right now.
  • Imagine you’re a tree and send roots into the earth, drawing stable energy to yourself.
  • Acknowledge the feelings you have right now: I am very angry right now. It's ok. Once you stop fighting an emotion, it often dissipates more quickly.
  • If you are with someone you trust, gentle safe touch can help you ground.
  • Just staying present does help. Our bodies rarely can sustain those intense emotions very long.
  • Follow your breathing in and out.
  • Constricted breathing exercise (see link for audio and tapping script).
  • Pet an animal.
  • You might keep a list of safe people to call near the phone.
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