Coping and Grounding
July 31, 2018
Written by Robyn Guzik, SART/CART Advocate
Grounding - what is it?
Grounding is a type of coping strategy that is intended to bring a sense of stability and safety to someone who is experiencing stress and anxiety. This method works by connecting you with the current moment, the now. Grounding methods often use any or all of the five senses. The five senses are sight, touch, smell, sound, and taste. You can use any combination of these five senses to become “grounded.”
There is a wonderful list of grounding exercises on healingfromcomplextraumaandptsd.com. Here are some different examples from the list:
Hold a cold can or bottle of soft drink in your hands. Feel the coldness and the wetness on the outside. Note the bubbles and taste as you drink.
When you wake up in the middle of the night, remind yourself who you are and where you are. Ask yourself, “What age am I now?” Look around the room and notice familiar objects and name them. Feel the bed you are lying on, the warmth or coldness of the air, and notice any sounds you hear.
Splash water on your face.
Sip a cool drink of water.
For a few more hands-on grounding exercises for all ages, I have included a step-by-step guide for making a calming jar and therapeutic slime.
A calming jar is intended to soothe and calm you. The colorful mixture from the glitter, glue, water and food coloring functions an effective model for grounding and calming anyone, no matter what their age.
When you are feeling overwhelmed, needing a break, or just need a moment connect with your senses, grab the calming jar and give it a good shake or swirl. You can watch the glitter’s swirling pattern in the jar. Continue watching the jar until all the glitter settles to the bottom. You can repeat this process until you feel a bit more at ease. Shaking the calming jar gives you the opportunity to calm an overwhelmed mind, take a break, and connect with your senses.
The manner in which slime can be used as a grounding technique is by incorporating different textures and essential oils that appeal to different senses. The blog PatientMD provides a wonderful summary on how slime can reduce stress. I have decided to include an excerpt of one of their posts:
“The core function of slime toys is to take your mind off your stressors and calm your nerves. You can comfortably hold them in the palm of your hand and squeezing them repeatedly helps to release tension as well as pent-up emotions and to relieve stress."
So how does a slime toy actually reduce your stress? Here’s how.
Your hand and wrist muscles tighten when you squeeze it in your palm, and relax when you release it. When you repeat this cycle over and over again, tension is released.
It stimulates those nerves in your hand that are connected to the limbic region of the brain. This region is associated with emotions and when it gets stimulated, you feel calm and relaxed. It feels good in your hand. When you keep working on a slime toy, eventually all of your focus is directed to it, making you stop concentrating on the source of your stress. It works just like meditation. When you manipulate a slime toy, your brain is stimulated and endorphins are released. The endorphins are natural sedatives or pain relievers and help to enhance your mood.”
What You will need:
Glitter of different colors, textures, and shapes.
Whisk or Stir Stick
Food Coloring (optional)
Grab your Mason jar and screw off the lid. Place lid aside for now.
Select the Glitter you would like to use.
Now add about a third of a bottle of the Elmer’s Clear glue into the Mason jar.
This is where you can add all the different colored, textured and shapes of glitter into the jar.
Add the warm water and stir!
Tip #1: Would you like the water to be a fun color? Try adding the food coloring of your choice to the jar. Watch before your eyes the color of the water change!
Seal the lid by twisting it shut. Shake & Swirl and watch the glitter settle. Enjoy!
Tip #2: If you would like the glitter to settle slower, just add more clear glue!
Tip #3: Want to make this childproof? Super glue the lid shut and use a shatterproof container.
Therapeutic Fluffy Slime
What you will need:
Elmer’s Clear Glue
Something to stir with (metal spoon)
Mix 1 tablespoon of Borax with 2 cups of warm water. Stir until completely dissolved. Set aside.
In the bowl, empty half of the Elmer’s glue. This is also where you can add the essential oil of your choice (4-5 drops). Stir until incorporated. I chose Eucalyptus for these benefits:
I will link a website for the benefits of other essential oils.
This is where you can add the shaving cream into the glue and essential oil mixture. Stir until incorporated. The foaming shaving cream is what allows this particular slime to be fluffy!
Tip #1: You can add glitter to this step if you would like additional textures in the slime.
Tip #2: You can skip the shaving cream if you would prefer clear slime.
Tip #3: You can also add food coloring at this step to achieve the color of your choice.
Add one spoonful of Borax & water mixture and incorporate. Repeat this step until the slime stops sticking to the bowl. I had to repeat this step 3 times to achieve proper consistency.
Keep massaging the slimeball mixture. The more it is played with, the “stretchier” the slime can become. (I did add pink food coloring to the slime in this picture)