• Cognitive Grounding

    Previously I have posted on using various senses to ground when triggered. Today I want to cognitive grounding.

    Often the need for grounding comes from being overwhelmed by emotions in some way (right brain activation), so activating the logical/rational side of our brains (left brain) can help get us unstuck from the swirling emotions. 

    Cognitive grounding involves anything that gets that logical side of your brain working. Simple math problems are a good one.

    And it truly has to be simple, no matter what your comfort with math is, because higher order thinking will not be available to you when you’re triggered. So, use single digit addition or subtraction problems.

    In a training by Kathleen Martin, LCSW, on working with dissociation, I learned the concept of asking silly questions to help ground. Asking how much money you have in your wallet, where did you last gas up your car, what color are your socks, what was the last thing you ate, etc.

    These are silly questions, but require you to get in touch with the here and now. This works well if you have a partner or friend who can assist you by asking you these silly questions, or you can have a card you keep in your wallet/purse or posted on your mirror with some of these questions. This is often helpful so that you don’t need to think of them on your own when triggered.