What feels grounding

We use grounding techniques all the time, probably usually without much conscientious effort. One of my favorite strategies is naming colors. That’s how I walked to work for much of last year. Dreading the overwhelming chaos of the day, I would walk the mile to work and say that house is grey, the sky is blue, that chip bag on the sidewalk is red. I grounded myself as I walked to work and interspersed between colors the mantra this is a good day this is a good day this is a good day.


When the intrusive images of death and trauma creep in front of my eyes I start wildly naming whatever is in front of me. Sometimes, in the shower– the shampoo is green, that square in the shower curtain is turquoise, that square is light blue, the plastic razor is pink oh I am sorry I am sorry you are dead oh the loofa is coral, the faucet is silver.

Writing in my journal, reading authors like Aimee Liu and Lydia Davis, drinking hot tea followed by afternoon coffee, comfortable pajamas and cuddled in blankets on the couch on a Sunday- this is grounding– If it calms the inner chaos of existential questioning and fear, shame, anxiety– whatever I can do to generate compassion for myself is grounding.

Pseudo-cleft constructions are also grounding.

Linguist-ing and philosophizing-I suppose it is because of the pattern of the grammar, the emphasis on meaning in the same way in each sentence. The same way any repetitive action can become calming, these structured sentences have a similar grounding effect.

Sometimes it takes a whole day of grounding to bring me back in to myself. Sometimes it’s a whole day and then in the next instant I’m off-kilter again. Process.

What feels grounding is knowing I am not alone. Connection with others- and compassion for myself.

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