When emotions threaten to overwhelm, always think of your feet on the ground

One of the first things I do with someone who comes to see me about their trauma is ensure they know how to ‘put their feet on the ground’.

I will teach people to find a safe place they can go in their mind when things start to become overwhelming. That safe place is usually a happy memory of somewhere where the person felt safe.

But what happens if the person becomes overwhelmed before I can teach them a safe place?

This is where other grounding techniques are used.

One technique is to draw attention to the person’s feet. I may ask “what size shoes do you wear?”

That may seem a strange question to ask, but it stops the person thinking the overwhelming thoughts long enough to answer the question. Another impact of that question is that, while the overwhelming thoughts relate to childhood, the size of a person’s shoe relates to adulthood. This is a strong message to that person that they are an adult. Therefore what they are feeling is in the past. Makes a big difference.

So thinking of your feet on the ground is not such a silly thing to do. It is in fact a very helpful thing to do.

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