Home Personality Grounding Techniques for Managing Dissociation: Personal Strategies

Grounding Techniques for Managing Dissociation: Personal Strategies

by Maria L. Searle
grounding techniques for managing dissociation

Studies indicate that many individuals develop dissociative tendencies in response to more traumatic incidents in their lives. Therefore, even when they are aware of their dissociative tendencies, they are unable to stop the dissociative episode. In these types of situations, it is necessary to ground yourself using different techniques effectively.

Along with helping to calm yourself down during a dissociative episode, these grounding techniques can also reduce stress and anxiety.

Types of Grounding Techniques for Dissociation

Different types of grounding techniques exist to help people become more aware of their surroundings and feel less stressed. The three major types of sensory grounding techniques include sensory, mental, and physical factors. No type is inherently more effective than the other, but they often come down to personal preference.

1. Physical

Physical grounding techniques will involve some physical tasks to help you relax and feel more present in your body. These grounding techniques can include light exercises, deep breathing exercises, and even something as simple as touching your hands and feet. Along with helping you feel like you are in your body, it also helps you recognize your surroundings. While effective, these can sometimes require space and time that only a few people can spend. Luckily, other grounding techniques also exist.

2. Mental

Mental grounding techniques put an emphasis on controlling your thoughts and keeping your mind from racing, especially with treatments like the ones offered by United Recovery Project. These techniques can also be effective in helping you feel present in your own body while helping you steer your thoughts away from something more negative. Popular examples of mental grounding techniques can include repeating a list of things you are grateful for, counting back from 100, and even positive self-talk. According to studies, mental exercises like these are a general push towards incorporating mindfulness into therapy for treating dissociation.

3. Sensory

Sensory grounding techniques are very common ways to help people feel more present. In fact, the exercises explicitly focus on making you interact with your surroundings to feel like you are in your body. While you can engage any sense you like, some of the most useful ones are sound, sight, and touch. Touching something with a unique texture can have a calming effect. Isolating different sounds and focusing on them can also be a very effective grounding technique.

Effective Physical Grounding Techniques

Physical grounding can have a multitude of benefits other than just helping you feel like you are in your body again. Along with helping you feel more present, it can also be a good way of relieving stress and anxiety that often comes as a result of your dissociation. Some of these physical grounding techniques include:

1. Dancing

According to recent studies, dancing can be very effective at reducing bodily detachment for people with depersonalization and dissociation disorders. It can help you feel present in the moment, and it can significantly elevate your mood. Put on some music that makes you feel calm, and start moving your body without paying much attention to how it looks. Instead, focus on how it makes you feel and how your body feels while dancing. If you start feeling anxious again or start to feel your focus shifting, bring it back to your body and how it is moving.

2. Yoga

Yoga is another very effective way of grounding yourself through its many stretches and breathing exercises. It can help calm your mind and shift your focus away from the negative or dissociative thoughts. The best part is that you can take yoga at your own pace. If you do not want to take up the more physical aspects of it, then you can instead focus solely on meditation and breathing.

3. Exercise

Finally, exercise remains a constant in helping people focus more on themselves. As a grounding tool, you can feel more present in the moment and interacting with the machines brings you into contact with unique textures. If you start dissociating, try to focus more on your breathing and the sound of the different machines in your gym.

Effective Mental Grounding Techniques

Similarly to physical grounding techniques, mental grounding can be less physically demanding and focuses more on finding your center. These activities especially engage your mind and make sure that you are not thinking about anything negative.

1. Counting Facts

Counting facts can be a very effective way to help ground yourself and calm your mind. The facts that you can differ wildly, but they should be about something that you are passionate about. So you can start talking about animals that you like, countries that interest you, or anything else. The important thing here is that the fact should effectively grab your attention, and you should properly focus on it.

2. Self-talk

Positive self-talk is similar to counting facts in that you will repeat a set of statements that can help relieve stress and make you feel present in your body. It is important to emphasize positive phrases to slowly bring yourself to reality without affecting your mental state. Phrases like “the feelings of detachment will go away. I just need to be patient” or “I’m not the only one who deals with this. Dissociation is a common response to traumatic experiences.”

Effective Sensory Grounding Techniques

Finally, sensory grounding techniques can help with dissociative episodes, as they focus on realigning the mind and body. Effective grounding techniques can include:

1. Mindful Observation

This is an effective way of grounding yourself into your surroundings, as you effectively pick out certain stimuli in your surroundings to focus on. These can include sounds, smells, colors, or even textures. Try to isolate a sound or smell from the crowd and focus on how it makes you feel. Or you can look at a color and try to find other colors like it. It is simple but can be very effective.

2. Deep Breathing

Deep breathing is similar to using yoga to improve breathing, with the major distinction being that it is a much simpler breathing exercise. This helps keep your heart from racing and prevent matters from escalating as you hyperventilate. Breathe in slowly and then breathe out slowly. Try to focus on your lungs as they expand and contract, as well as how you feel when you are breathing.


Dissociation is often a response to traumatic events, but that does not mean that you cannot do anything about it. You can use the many grounding techniques mentioned above to help realign your body and mind and reduce the time that you spend dissociating.

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