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Staying in the present. Grounding exercises

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#1
Hi, everyone! :)

I hope that you're doing well.
I wanted to share with you some of the grounding and self soothing exercises that I use when I have suicidal ideation. It is a highly stresfull period right now due to the pandemic and it's normal to feel overwhelmed. Many of us were struggling before the pandemic and this situation made everything more difficult, or, maybe we were making progress in some areas of our life, and the pandemic stopped us for a while from moving forward.
I've noticed that thinking about the future or the past can trigger suicidal ideation. In these two areas we have no control. We can't change the negative events, traumatic even, from our past. And we cannot exactly predict how our future would look like based on what's going on in the present on the outside (job/school/relationships/ pandemic) and on the inside ( our emotions and thoughts). Our brain can trick us into thinking that there is no hope for the future. But maybe the brain is tired and we should give it a break from time to time.
Here are some of the exercises that I used lately that might work for you too. What are your ways of dealing with suicidal thoughts? Please share in the comments.


5-4-3-2-1 Technique
Using the 5-4-3-2-1 technique, you will purposefully take in the details of your surroundings
using each of your senses. Strive to notice small details that your mind would usually tune out,
such as distant sounds, or the texture of an ordinary object.
What are 5 things you can see? Look for small details such as a pattern on the
ceiling, the way light reflects off a surface, or an object you never noticed.
What are 4 things you can feel? Notice the sensation of clothing on your body, the
sun on your skin, or the feeling of the chair you are sitting in. Pick up an object and
examine its weight, texture, and other physical qualities.
What are 3 things you can hear? Pay special attention to the sounds your mind
has tuned out, such as a ticking clock, distant traffic, or trees blowing in the wind.
What are 2 things you can smell? Try to notice smells in the air around you, like an
air freshener or freshly mowed grass. You may also look around for something
that has a scent, such as a flower or an unlit candle.
What is 1 thing you can taste? Carry gum, candy, or small snacks for this step. Pop
one in your mouth and focus your attention closely on the flavors.


The bus. Mind technique.
Imagine that you're driving a bus. Inside of it, instead of having passengers, your thoughts are there. Everything that you're feeling and thinking at the moment. Let them be there in the bus for a while. Don't fight them. There's no need for that because you are the driver and you have all the control. You are at the stearing wheel, holding it.
Now, when you are ready to let go, imagine a certain thought or memory leaving the bus at the station. With each stopp, one of them descends. Do this until everyone of them leaves. Don't forget, you are the boss. The bossdriver :) . Stay at the wheel.

Self-soothing

Get yourself some hot cocoa, coffee, soda, juice or water. Drink your beverage slowly focusing on the sensations of taste, smell and temperature.

Give yourself a regulating hug: place your right hand across your heart and put your palm against your body with your hand under your armpit. Take your left arm across the body towards the right and hold your own deltoid or upper arm close to your shoulder for a calming self-hug.
Wrap in a blanket and rock in a rocking chair.

Think of the things you look forward to in the next week (person you will connect with, activity, etc).

Say a coping statement, such as : This feeling will pass, or I can do this.

For me it works better if I imagine that another person is saying this to me. I usually imagine a father figure. Some of the statements could be '' You deserve good things''' '' You are a good person and you are doing the best you can''.
 
#2
I'm not very good at dealing with suicidal thoughts, I end up breaking down crying, doing nothing, going to bed, sleeping in hopes when I wake up I'll feel calmer- sometimes works, sometimes doesn't. I don't really do anything other than wait it out. I write about how I feel privately.

I do find the technique of focusing your senses elsewhere helps. I do it with sounds and it helps calm my anxiety sometimes. Sometimes if I can face it, I find going out for a walk helps calm down my thoughts.

I thought I was the only one who imagines someone else saying reassuring things to me, I do that too. I pretend someone a similar age to me loves me and are saying those things to me. (I hate how sad that sounds)

thanks for the tips, I'm sure they will be useful for people :)
 
#3
Suicidal thoughts are though. No wonder sometimes none of our coping strategies work. But you are doing great. Taking walks and focusing elsewhere are healthy and recommended exercises for anxiety.

I like focusing on sounds too. A few weeks ago I took a walk near a small waterfall and I sat down and listened to the water and the birds. At the same time, I touched the small rocks that were laying on ground with my palm. Trying to destinguish the shape of each rock. It was so nice and relaxing.

You know, there are times when I also feel that it's sad to imagine someone else reassuring me, but then I think : Does it matter what it looks like if it works? The problem is solved and we did it by ourselves.
We know best what we need to hear.
 
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