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How can you stay grounded in the moment when you are in pain?

Grounding techniques are coping tools that reconnect you with the present and self-regulate during times of stress, pain, or anxiety. Grounding allows for the nervous system to calm down and switch off the body’s stress response, which increases feelings of safety and psychological balance. Pain is usually less intense when we feel safe, which is why grounding can help break the pain cycle and bring the pain level down to a more tolerable level.

Grounding techniques all have one thing in common: they draw your attention away from ruminating thoughts and distressing emotions and bring you back into the present moment. There are many ways to ground yourself, so find techniques that work for you! Many people find physical grounding techniques helpful, such as movement, tuning into your senses, or giving yourself a mini-massage. Connecting with the breath and doing some deep belly breathing is one the simplest ways to bring yourself out of your head and into the present moment. Many people find water to be incredibly soothing, so taking a warm shower or hot bath with epsom salt and baking soda can help when you’re experiencing severe pain.

Spending more time in nature is a highly recommended grounding technique with a long list of positive benefits. Even if you spend just a few minutes standing or sitting outside, getting barefoot, or simply just breathing in some fresh air, you will feel a difference in your mind set and pain level. If you’re not able to get out, use the power of visualization by imagining yourself in a safe, calm, and comfortable place. Use your senses to imagine this place in as much detail as possible, noticing how your body and mind changes when you immerse yourself in this experience. Although practicing grounding techniques are certainly effective in the midst of tough bouts of pain, they can also be helpful when you practice them during periods of lower pain, so they’re readily available when you need them.

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