Help Your Teen Engage Their Senses to Self-Soothe

Ever feel lost in how to help your teen when they are crying or panicking? 

Help your teen reconnect to themselves using grounding activities by engaging all the senses.  

When your child's focus drifts from the present and into the past, it may trigger sadness, regret, embarrassment or anger.  If you've ever played a past experience over and over in your mind on a loop and it brought up the same feelings in the moment as it did when the event actually occurred, you know what this feels like.

Your teen may also begin to look into the future with fear or anxiety.  Ahem... college and SAT's anyone?  It's a weekly topic of discussion and a major distress trigger for MANY of the teens we see here at the teen support center.  

Know that bringing them back to the present moment is a helpful skill to ease in the moment distress.  (Side note: your body actually can't tell the difference between what's happening right now, or an image that you've brought up in your mind, so that's why memories can reactivate the same emotions and body sensations as an event themselves.)  << This is actually GOOD news because we can use it in the reverse and to our favor by intentionally immersing ourselves in experiences or memories that bring feelings of joy and safety too.

Get Grounded! 

Practice the following exercises PROACTIVELY to help decrease "time travel" that your mind may do when you experience a distressing thought or situation.

* State the day and date in your mind: "Today is Sunday, April 2nd 2017" to bring you back to the present moment

*Use your senses to take note of who is around you and what you hear and smell. List minute details in your mind and take your time.

* Observe how your body comes in contact with the chair on which your sitting, or how your feet are connected to the earth. Curl your toes or stomp your feet to reconnect to the ground below you.

* Breathe slowly and deeply and count your inhales and exhales

* Stretch your body and move around, noticing the sensations you feel both inside and around you as you move

* Repeat a self-soothe mantra like, "I am here. I am safe."

When you OVER practice grounding exercises on a daily basis, they become routine for times when emotions are heightened and you need to reconnect to the present moment.

Self-Soothe Using the Senses! 

In all of our Teen Groups and Teen DBT Groups this week we created sparkly lavender silly putty to learn about self-soothe and grounding skills.

Watch the video below to learn how we made it...