Self-Soothe Grounding Techniques

Self-Soothe grounding techniques are about taking care of yourself. With self-soothe grounding techniques, you are grounding yourself in things that are comforting to you. One important thing with self-soothe techniques is to listen to your body and do what is comforting to you and not what is effective for others. Each of us is unique and has unique experiences that influence what is comforting to us, and it is important to respect that. When you do activities or imagine things that are comforting to you, it signals to the brain that you are in a good place and that calms the system down.

Take a shower or bath. Notice the sensation of the water hitting your skin

Make a cup of tea or coffee. Focus on the taste. Notice the warmth of the mug.

Wrap yourself in a soft blanket. Focus on the softness of the blanket and how it makes you feel.

Sip a cool drink of water, iced tea, or juice. Notice the difference in temperature and how it makes you feel.

Imagine very relaxing scenes.

Engage in spiritual practices, such as prayer to God/higher power or something else.

Imagine hurtful emotions draining out of you like water out of a tap or sand slipping through your fingers.

Remember a happy time and imagine yourself in it again.

Find purpose or meaning in a painful situation. If you have trouble finding meaning in your current circumstance, try to remember a time you found meaning in a painful situation.

Imagine everything turning out okay.

Focus on the positive aspects of a difficult situation.

Do some self-massage.

Practice yoga or some other stretching.

Get into bed and pull the covers over your head.

Remind yourself of another time when you felt similarly, and things turned out okay.

Encourage yourself:

  • “I will make it out of this.”
  • “This will soon pass.”
  • “I’m doing the best I can.”
  • “I will be okay.”

Imagine yourself leaving the painful feelings behind. This can be walking, swimming, or running away from the feelings. Writing the feelings on a piece of paper and burning it.

Visualize your favourite place. Think about the sounds and scents there as well.

List and visualize 4 or 5 things that bring you joy.

Some of these techniques are from Marsha Linehan’s DBT Skills Training Manual, 2nd Edition.

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