Active grounding + How to make a toolkit
Updated: Aug 22, 2022
At times in the middle of a smoothly flowing day, I feel sudden emotional instability and out of control. I didn’t understand initially but then realized that it indeed is not so sudden and a progression even with it’s in extreme intensity and quick elevation. It is to me a strong wave of an unpleasant emotion that washes off any logic, thinking, counter-feeling that could prevent from getting swayed. Often my physical senses feel compromised. Vision blurs. Words are just meaningless sounds. I feel lost. I can’t ignore it as it physically hurts. My chest feels hollow and the weight of all my body gathers in the feet, my hands shake and head hurts. Many times, all I can think of is screaming.
In times when some or the other few of these happen, the thought of coming up with a solution is nothing but burdening. Active grounding to me means – deliberately putting an effort to ground myself to be in the present moment and not be carried away by strong and painful emotions when I don’t want to.
To better equip myself, I learnt to make a tool kit to help me ground and now I’m sharing with you.
Even though I try, I hardly manage to use the toolkit but then I think it’s worth it even if it helps once. I plan to rethink the whole situation, find triggers, reasons, better ways to deal, check if there is an unsolved thought and work on it later according to how much it matters to me. However, for that moment, grounding with the help of a tool kit works.
1 way to make a tool kit could be this:
Take or make an envelope, call it your toolkit, write that on it – simple handwriting or fancy lettering, up to you!
Think of things that make you feel calm when you – touch/hear/listen to/taste/see/watch/smell/do/read them. These could be – a soft purse, a song, a playlist, a snack, a candy, a photograph, a text message, a perfume, a light joke, a nice quote, calling someone, going out of the setting/ changing surroundings for a while, keeping phone aside, breathing deeply counting backwards from 5 to 0, running, jumping, closing eyes, hitting something (not to get hurt), crying, bathing, crying and bathing with light music.
Divide all the things/activities in three groups – Zone 1, 2, 3 – symbolized by green, yellow and red stars according to what you’d pick in a mild, medium and extremely difficult situation.
There could be about 3-4 things in all zones – of which you would make chits – as creatively as you want and when needed you would pick one out of the envelope and do it. Think of the objects you might require to facilitate the things you’d like to do. Availability of objects like – chocolates, book, earphones could be helpful. Try to keep the objects you need for mild and medium zones with you at all times. And for the extreme situations I’d also ask you to write a small precautions list. Things like – inform someone, go to your room, keep sharp objects away – could be useful.
I like to tear paper in really small pieces and sitting on the floor with palms touching – so it varies from person to person. You’ll find out that you really do know the things you do when you feel emotionally instable only it can be difficult to think of anything during hard times. I think, it’s a simple exercise but yet I don’t find myself practicing it enough. So, I’d say, make it and pick a slip to get a direction on how to start the process of grounding.
I suffer from a mental illness and I love art so things like these work for me.