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Grounding Skills:

  • 54321

  • Describe an object

  • Spend time in nature

  • Journalling

  • Yoga

  • Petting an animal

  • Hugging meditation

  • Eat something mindfully, noticing all the texture and flavour

  • Deep breathing, box breathing

  • Listen to music

  • Mindfulness; simply observe the present moment without judgement


Ideas for activating the Vagus Nerve/Closing the stress response cycle:

  • Gargle

  • Hum or sing

  • Have a good cry

  • Splash cold water on your face or take a cold shower

  • Rub an ice cub on your face or neck

  • Jump on the spot - get your heart rate up

  • Shake out your hands and feet

  • Orgasm

  • Deep breathing

  • Connect with a friend or loved one

  • Creative Expression

  • Laugh

  • Touch (if you're feeling touched out then don't try this one)

  • Yoga

  • Foot massage/massage your clavicle, neck and ear lobe

  • Sun exposure

  • Hard exercise such as a HIIT workout

Coping Skills for depression and/or dissociation:

  • Try to reconnect to your body, ie. progressive muscle relaxation

  • Have someone talk to you about anything to bring you back to the present moment

  • Distraction (making sure to come back to your emotions later, when you feel more able to)

  • Drink a glass of water or eat some food mindfully

  • Take a shower and really notice how the water feels on your body

  • Engage in pleasurable activities, ie. read a favourite book, talk to a friend, eat a favourite food, listen to your favourite music, watch a comedy

  • Connect with a friend or loved one

  • Connect with nature

  • Move your body in a way that feels good/realistic for you

  • Connect to your spirituality or spiritual practices


Coping Skills for nightmares/flashbacks/Panic Attacks:

  • Acknowledge that you are having a nightmare, flashback or panic attack

  • Take deep breaths and ground yourself by putting your feet on the floor, feel your back on your chair or notice what is around you (54321)

  • Try not to analyze the nightmare or flashback, continue to focus on the present moment and what is around you, tell yourself you are not in danger currently

  • Engage in self-soothing afterwards, connect with a friend or loved one


Other Ideas:

  • Scaling your symptoms (1/10 is not activated - 10/10 is a panic attack) and choosing coping skills for each level (5/10 - Focus on my breathing and engage in healthy distraction)

  • Step away/take a break

  • Come back to the Self and give yourself permission to prioritize your needs and self-care

  • Talk to your support person

  • Consider individual therapy


Remember the essentials; food, water, sleep, connection. Taking care of the essentials will help to reduce your overall symptoms and open your window of tolerance; improve your capacity for coping in moments of distress.

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