5 Trauma Therapy Techniques for Busy People
Navigating life after a traumatic experience can feel overwhelming. You might feel wonderful one moment but then find yourself distracted by flashbacks the next. If you don’t have access to trauma therapy or you’re searching for everyday coping strategies, grounding can help you calm your mind and focus on the present moment.
Grounding techniques help cope with trauma symptoms associated with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). They can also help manage other forms of anxiety, including social anxiety and panic attacks. Grounding can help you cope with flashbacks, negative thoughts, and painful memories by “grounding” you. In other words, they bring you back into the present moment, reducing the likelihood that you’ll slip into dissociation or flashbacks.
The next time you’re feeling overwhelmed, try using trauma therapy grounding techniques to refocus your mind and start feeling better. Here’s how to get started.
1. Get your body moving.
Set aside a few minutes each day to do a few exercises or stretches. If you’re feeling restless, try jumping jacks, jumping rope, or jogging in place to release some energy.
Take note of how your body feels with each movement, along with when your hands and feet touch the floor or move through the air. Exercising is a great way to live in the moment—you have to pay attention to your body, your breath, and the world around you. It has physical health benefits, too. Exercising for as little as 30 minutes each day is enough to release mood-boosting endorphins, which help you feel more energized and positive throughout the day.
2. Try the 5-4-3-2-1 method.
Working backward from 5, use your senses to notice what’s happening around you. For example, you might start by listing five things you see, then four things you hear, three things you can smell, two things you can touch, and one thing you can taste.
When using the 5-4-3-2-1 method to ground yourself, try to notice the little things you might not usually pay attention to, like the hum of your ceiling fan or the texture of your walls. Whether you’re working at the office or feeling overwhelmed in public, the 5-4-3-2-1 method can be a simple, effective anxiety management technique to gain control over your mind, push away any negative thoughts, and bring yourself back to the present moment.
3. Practice deep breathing.
Slowly inhale and then exhale. If you’re having trouble focusing on your breathing, say or think “in” and “out” with each breath.
Instead of applying pressure to “empty your mind,” just pay attention to your breathing and yourself, whether it’s the rhythm of your breath or the sounds of your breathing. Start by dedicating five or 10 minutes of your day to deep breathing exercises, and see how it makes you feel.
4. Notice how your body feels.
The next time you catch yourself in a cycle of negative thoughts, step out of time and check in with your body. This technique can be as simple or as complicated as you want to make it, and you can do it sitting, standing, or lying down.
Start by observing how your body feels from head to toe, taking a few seconds to focus on each body part. Can you feel your heartbeat? Does your stomach feel full, or do you feel hungry? How do your feet feel against the floor?
5. Start journaling.
Getting into the habit of writing down your thoughts, feelings, and observations can improve your mood and ability to enjoy the present moment. Mindful journaling is all about examining whatever is going on in your head and expressing it on a page.
The physical act of writing ink on paper can bring you into the present moment. Start by writing about something you noticed that day, or try setting a few intentions for the week ahead.
Compassionate Online Trauma Therapy in NYC
Even though trauma therapy techniques can help you cope with stressful situations, it’s important to remember that they’re not a substitute for therapy sessions with a qualified trauma therapist. If you’re constantly feeling overwhelmed by symptoms of trauma, trauma therapy can create a safe space to address your emotional trauma with an experienced mental health professional.
To find a supportive trauma therapist, reach out to a mental health professional through The Therapy Group of NYC. We know that therapy can feel intimidating—and finding the time for therapy sessions can feel impossible if you’re juggling a busy schedule. That’s why we offer online therapy with flexible scheduling so you can access trauma treatment from the comfort of your own home.
No matter where you are in the healing process, one of our supportive trauma therapists will help you manage your trauma symptoms, cope with your emotional trauma, and gain insights into your mental health so you can live a more fulfilling life.