Grounding with a Calming Jar: Calming jars are a fun DIY craft that can be used again and again to help kids and teens feel calmer and more grounded. There are different “recipes” that work, but most calming jars can be made with a container, water, glue, and colorful add-ins like glitter or beads. Kids and teens can shake up the bottle to mix everything like a snow globe, and then watch as everything settles down to the bottom. Below are just a couple examples:
Sample Progress Note: The focus of the session was (tailor based on treatment plan). The therapist engaged the client in grounding activities to build their mindfulness, distress tolerance and emotional regulation skills. The client responded to the activity by (fill in the blank).
Couples strategy of the week:
Grounding During Difficult Conversations: It can be challenging to stay present and grounded during difficult conversations that involve high emotions. This is such a common reaction, and at the same time, this can make it harder for couples to work through difficult conversations and feel connected to one another. The following strategies can help couples feel more grounded during difficult conversations:
Have a plan. Choose a time during a normal day (not necessarily during a difficult conversation) to discuss how each person feels when they are not grounded, as well as strategies to help each person feel more grounded.
Take breaks. It’s okay to take breaks during difficult conversations so that each person can take time to feel more grounded.
Decide on a “safe word.” Sometimes it’s hard for people to communicate that they’re feeling overwhelmed while they’re feeling overwhelmed. Having a “safe word” or “safe phrase” (e.g., “time out,” “pause,” or something more personal) can help communicate that grounding is needed.
Use Tactful Humor. An appropriate inside joke told at the right time during a difficult conversation can help diffuse tension and remind couples of their bond to one another. Make sure this is something the couple is okay with before they try it during a difficult conversation.
Co-Regulate. Taking some deep breaths together, grounding with the senses, standing outside, or going on a walk together can be great ways for couples to regulate their bodies and feel connected at the same time.
Sample Progress Note: The focus of this session was… The therapist helped the couple explore ways they can engage in grounding with each other to strengthen connection in the relationship. The couple was (engaged/receptive/disengaged/etc) while exploring this topic, and they (were able/struggled/somewhat able) to identify a variety of grounding strategies for their relationship.
Adult strategy of the week:
Grounding with the Five Senses: Amidst the day-to-day rhythm of life, it is common for people to feel like they are living from the shoulders up, being tuned into thoughts and worries more than the body. One of the quickest ways to feel grounded is to plug into the five senses, such as through the 5-4-3-2-1 activity:
5 things you can see (Tip: it can be helpful to make this more specific. For example, 5 blue things you can see)
4 things you can touch
3 things you can hear
2 things you can smell
1 thing you can taste
Sample Progress Note: The focus of this session was… The therapist supported the client in exploring ways to get grounded in the midst of changes, challenges, and daily living. The client reported that was (helpful/not helpful/etc) to learn and practice grounding and was able to identify (one/a couple/several) grounding strategies to use.
Mindfulness/Meditation of the week:
Root Grounding Meditation: Getting grounded in meditation helps to root our awareness in the strength and resilience of the mind-body connection. The practice of discovering our center of gravity and stability from within supports us in re-centering and grounding in daily life.
Today we are going to do a root grounding exercise. Let’s begin in a standing position. You may find that you prefer to be barefoot for this meditation, allowing for the full experience of connecting with the earth. If you find that wearing socks or standing on a mat is more preferable, please feel free to do so. Now, place your feet flat on the ground. Notice your soles and the sensations you feel. Notice how your feet feel with the connection they have made. Rest your arms gently by your side. Scan your body slowly for areas of tension- areas of unrest or stress. Maybe your head or neck is tight. Maybe you notice your shoulders are held high. Let go of any knots in your stomach or your heart. Relax your arms, your hands. Relax your gluts and legs. Wiggle your fingers, wiggle your toes. Just relax. Now, notice your breathing- is it fast and labored? Maybe it is already slow and steady. Just take a moment to become aware. We will begin to focus our control on our breathing. Let’s do this three times. Breath in deep, and breath out, pushing the air through your nostrils. Breathe in with awareness, breath out with strength and purpose. Last time, breathe deeply, pulling the breath into your stomach, feeling your rib cage and lungs expand. Now breath out, pushing the air out of your lungs, out of your nose, out with strength.
Now let’s add another element to our breathing:
Imagine roots, as if your body is a tree. Let your legs and the soles of your feet descend as if they are the roots of a tree. Your feet extend deep, deep into the ground, deep into the core of the earth. You may notice you have very thick roots that firmly pull you down. Roots that connect you to the energy and strength of the earth. You may have some thinner roots that spread out to cover more area, ensuring more security and abundance. Now breathe up through the roots- move your breath from the soles of your feet, up through your calves, and thighs. Feel the breath move through your legs up to the core of your body. Let your tree grow up through your ribs and shoulders- with your outbreath, relax your arms and neck. Feel the in breath in your throat and let it expand into your head, relaxing your brain, your forehead, your thoughts. Imagine, with each in breath, you are extending the roots up to the crown of the head. Feel your energy move from the soles of your feet up through your head and into the sky. With each in breath, notice the cleansing energy come into your being. With each outbreath, release all of the tensions in your body and negative thoughts in your mind. With your next in breath, feel the power of the earth move through the roots of your feet up through your stomach and heart, to the top of your head. With your outbreath, gently release this stress; let it go into the air, let it go into the sky. From the roots deep in the center of the earth, draw energy up to the crown of your head. If you get distracted just notice your thoughts then let them go. Accept your distraction then draw your attention back to the soles of your feet, your roots, strong and powerful. Notice your breath, notice the energy you draw from the core of the earth. There is abundant energy. As you breath out, let your stress and emotions escape into the atmosphere. Continue to breathe deeply. Pull the energy from the center of the earth, feel the energy cleanse your body. Feel your outbreath releasing the tensions and worrisome thoughts you carry. You are encouraged to continue this breathing until you are relaxed, reenergized, and free from stress and tension. Breathe in deep from your roots, from the soles of your feet. Pull in the energy the earth has to offer. Allow this energy to spread throughout your body and allow your stress to be released from the crown of your head.
When you are ready, please start to shift your awareness back to the soles of your feet. Notice how the ground feels below your body. Notice the connection your feet have made with the earth. Be aware of the energy the earth has given to you. Bring your awareness to the strength and relaxation that you now embody. Bring your awareness to your roots and to the connection you have made. You are encouraged to bring this energy and peace with you throughout your day.
Sample Progress Note: The focus of this session was… The therapist led Ct. in a grounding meditation activity to build Ct.’s ability to navigate strong emotions and stress. Ct. (engaged/did not engage in the activity), and they reported that the mindfulness activity was (helpful/difficult/not helpful).
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