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  • Writer's pictureDana Arcuri

Grounding Techniques & Essential Oils to Calm Your Nervous System

Oftentimes, when someone experiences abuse or trauma, they may be slammed by fight, flight, freeze, or fawn. Their heart may be racing. They may perspire or break out in a cold sweat. They may feel unsafe or be flooded by cortisol and other hormones. In some cases, a person may disassociate. It can feel like an outer body experience. As if you lost your connection to yourself; physically, mentally, and spiritually.

The key to navigating your healing process is to learn how to ground yourself, how to calm your central nervous system, and how to reconnect to yourself. It is like coming home to your inner child. Super therapeutic and comforting!

Today's blog post are non-medical holistic modalities for your trauma recovery. Explore whatever resonates with you. Consider stepping outside your comfort zone in effort to decrease your anxiety, depression, and trauma responses. Grounding techniques are strategies that can help a person manage their traumatic memories or strong emotions. The purpose of grounding techniques is to allow a person to step away from negative thoughts or flashbacks.

Techniques such as these can decrease the intensity of a person’s feelings or trauma by distracting them using the five senses. Focusing on what they observe in the present moment can help a person detach from the past.

To follow this grounding technique, a person should:

  1. Place the feet firmly on the ground.

  2. State the date and time.

  3. Take slow, deep breaths.

  4. State what they can observe in their present environment.

  5. Remind themselves that they are in a safe place right now.

  6. Observe their immediate surroundings and describe items in the environment.

To decrease the intensity of their feelings, a person can use visualization exercises or sensory diffusers. Some techniques include:

  • visualizing turning down an emotional dial

  • clenching their fist to hold on to the feelings, then letting them go when they release their fist

  • visualizing a safe place through guided imagery

  • distracting themselves

Grounding Technique: The goal is to connect to all 5 of your senses. (Sight, sound, taste, scent, and touch.) 1. Out loud, state 5 things you can see.

2. State 4 things you can touch.

3. State 3 things you can hear.

4. State 2 things you can smell.

5. State 1 thing you can taste.

Focus on Breathing Techniques: Take a slow, deep breath by inhaling. Hold for 2-3 seconds. Exhale deeply. Repeat 3-4 times. Non-medical Holistic Modalities: 1. Epsom Salt Bath - Soak in a warm bathtub with Epsom salts for 15-30 minutes. Consider relaxing with calming meditation music or nature sounds. 2. Write & Speak Positive Affirmations Daily - Consider speaking out loud positive affirmations daily. Write the affirmation on an index card and post it where you can see it. Here are some examples:

"I am safe and divinely protected."

"I am doing the best that I can."

"I am enough."

"I call back my positive energy, peace of mind, and my personal power."

"I choose positive and nurturing thoughts."

3. Intuition - Remember to trust your gut instincts. Observe and pay attention to your intuition. Listen to the soft voice within you. Oftentimes, our own body knows exactly what we need. Our gut instincts can alert us to danger. It is an internal alarm system that will protect us. Your intuition will never lie to you.

4. Pure Essential Oils for Emotional Support - Essential oils are the liquids used in aromatherapy. They are made up of oils from plants, flowers, trees, and other compounds. Although essential oils cannot "cure us," these amazing plant-based compounds can be valuable healing tools for our emotional, physical, and spiritual health. Whether you struggle with insomnia, anxiety, triggers, flashbacks, depression, grief, chronic pain, migraines, fatigue, viruses, illnesses, or GI distress, there is an essential oil for every concern.

Essential Oil Directions - Rub 1-2 drops of essential oils onto the soles of your feet. Some calming essential oils for topical use or to diffuse include lavender, frankincense, sandalwood, chamomile, clary sage, bergamot, ylang ylang, or melissa.

4 Soothing Essential Oils to Calm Your Nervous System:

  1. Lavender Essential Oil - Lavender is known for its pleasant aroma and it is naturally antiseptic and antiviral. For sleep disturbances, lavender is very relaxing. Lavender has calming properties for alleviating stress, restlessness, tension, anxiety, and depression.

  2. Frankincense Essential Oil - Frankincense is my favorite "go to" oil for chronic pain, fibromyalgia, and herniated discs. It is considered "liquid gold." Frankincense is ideal for reducing symptoms of physical pain, inflammation, insomnia, depression, and neurological disorders.

  3. Clary Sage Essential Oil - Clary sage essential oil is extracted by steam distillation from the buds and leaves of the plant, Salvia Sclarea. Clary sage has health benefits that include, but are not limited to being sedative, antibacterial, antispasmodic, antiseptic, and anticonvulsive. This essential oil is geared for females to address PMS, menstrual cramps, and menopause. Clary sage is quite effective as a sleep aid, antidepressant, and for balancing moods. (CAUTION: Avoid Clary sage if you consume alcohol.)

  4. Bergamot Essential Oil - This pure essential oil has a regulating effect, deeply calming yet gently toning, to the nervous system. It can be helpful to disperse unprocessed and stagnant energy that shows up as tension and irritability. It encourages the release of pent-up feelings and can help to direct nervous energy away from addictive behaviors. Bergamot has a beautiful aroma and it's benefic for relaxation.

NOTE: Not all essential oils are created equal. Always do your own research to make sure that you choose the highest, purest grade of essential oils.

Grounding is a practice that can help you pull away from flashbacks, unwanted memories, and negative or challenging emotions. It’s best to try doing a grounding exercise when you first start to feel emotionally dysregulated or triggered.

Don’t wait for distress to reach a high level that’s harder to handle. If the technique doesn’t work at first, try to stick with it for a bit before moving on to another. Remember that this is trial and error. Practice and take one day at a time.

Have hope that you are healing. You survived your trauma, and you can get through this chapter in your life, too.

Here's a professional resource for 30 Grounding Techniques to Quiet Distressing Thoughts.

Medical Disclaimer: This information is not intended to be a substitute for the medical advice of physicians. It shall not take the place of a medical evaluation, diagnosis, and/or treatment. The information on my website and blogs are only for educational purposes and building awareness about natural options for health. Furthermore, individuals are recommended to seek professional medical care in the event they are suffering mental health and/or medical conditions. The information shared is based on my personal experience, research, education, and knowledge. Please consider building awareness and becoming your own health advocate.

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