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Grounding 101: Smell

Updated: Dec 5, 2019

After a traumatic event, the brain often becomes stuck thinking about the past. This happens because it's trying to learn from the event to make adjustments for the future. It also fixates on the future; trying to anticipate potential events before they happen. While the brain does this hoping to protect us; no amount of self-reflection can change the past and no amount of planning can predict the future. An uncomfortable reality is that traumatic events are often outside of our control.


When our attention is on past events, it's common to feel zoned out, sad, or numb. When our focus is on bad things that could happen, it's normal to experience hypervigilance, anxiety, or panic attacks. For many individuals, their minds will go back and forth (from what happened to what could). This oscillation from low energy feelings and symptoms to high can be very overwhelming.


Grounding skills help reconnect us to the present moment; the only moment we have any control over. When connected to the present, your symptoms will feel more manageable. Check out the infographic below for ideas about how to use your sense of smell to help!


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