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Presence Techniques

See also Here & Now New

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The Power of the Here & Now
(and how to find it)

by the Crisses.
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The remainder of this page will avoid the term "grounding" and use "earthing" to describe certain techniques involving the connection of body to earth instead, unless it's the title of an actual technique.


The act of working towards being more into the Here & Now, being more engaged with the present. It does not mean always being 100% in the Here & Now.
Connecting to the earth to shunt off excess energies or anxieties.
Drawing our mental & physical attention back to our "center" i.e. our body-mind.
Being more fully & completely in this one moment, without judgment.

The Benefits of Presence

  • Reduced symptoms
  • Manage emotions
  • Lower dissociation
  • Spoons
  • Improve memory
  • Self-awareness
  • Intention
  • Identify needs
  • Make decisions
  • Self-compassion
  • Lower judgment
  • Adaptability
  • Intention
  • Improve metabolism
  • Aid healing
  • Lower inflammation
  • Assist digestion
  • Improve immune function


Earthing a form of presence, generally thought of as being more present either to one's own body or to the earth/ground/floor beneath our feet. Our place in space, not necessarily in time.

"Earthing" can also refer to electrical current issues as well, such as earthing — whether true or not, folks consider some types of earthing the human body to affect ions and charged particles and improve body functioning.

How Presence Relates to Dissociation

Dissociation is very nearly the antithesis of presence, earthing, centering and being present. Earthing (or Presence) techniques can help mitigate the effects of extreme dissociative episodes where you experience distancing from your body, your environment, your sense of reality, or the people around you.

The idea is to get fully present in the Here & Now New to the best of your ability. Here's some typical earthing techniques/ideas, of course not all of these ideas will work for every system — your specific past experiences could make some of these triggers instead of earthing so you need to experiment and know your system's reactions to different techniques:

Presence Tools

There's many ways to get more present, and some may include body-based ideas, and some may not. Below are a good many ideas that we can choose from to inspire our own menu of presence techniques.

"Three Inches to the Left New"
For folks with somatic flashbacks, or chronic pain, earthing in your body may be "too much". This technique by The Crisses helps you be "alongside" your body but not fully in it.
Mindfulness meditation
The art of being fully present in this moment, paying full sensory attention to what is right in front of you and what is happening moment-by-moment. There is nothing but now. The past is gone, the future isn't here yet. Stay in "Now" and what is right in front of you. Taste what you eat. Hear the sounds in your immediate environment. Feel the floor or chair beneath you. Get fully into your body.
Some people ground well with music, when you are fully present to and listening to music, you are in the now. Music can assist one in earthing, becoming more "real" (as opposed to the dissociative experience of derealization) especially if you choose power ballots or music that you enjoy. Listening to complicated arrangements may help, where you can tune in to different instruments — so for some folk, classical orchestral music is earthing. Your mileage may vary, but this is commonly good for earthing.
Smells can be very common/strong triggers (depending on your personal traumatic experiences), but when they aren't a trigger, they can also help one ground. So you can choose common "earthing" scents like lavender, cinnamon, patchouli, or whatever scents or essential oils help you. Use essential oils in a diffuser to prolong the effect so you can thoroughly ground again. Be careful if burning incense and make sure that you place it on a fireproof surface. You can choose soaps, scented candles (again, only use with appropriate caution) and other items that help change the scents in your environment and help you ground. We (the Crisses) have set out grapefruit-scented candles without burning them just to "clean the air" in the same way lemon sorbet "cleanses the palate".
The use of smoke (or diffused-oil water spray as an alternative for where you can't burn anything) to "scrub" the air and energies that surround all things including people (aura, spirit). One can smudge both one's environment and one's body. Traditional smudging with white sage &/or cedar is thought to be earthing (using white sage is a closed practice as the herb is endangered via overuse, consider replacing it with Mugwort, which is plentiful and a relative plant native to Europe, Asia, North Africa, and Alaska that is invasive in many additional areas in North America & other places). The scent may help you ground, the smoke cleanses away negative energies and has a protective quality. Follow fire safety protocols unless using a "spray smudge" which is usually distilled water and essential oils — don't get it in your eyes.
Sensory stimulation
Rocking, swinging, weighted blankets, certain types of fabrics, hugging (stuffies, pets, pillows, yourself, or other people), taking a bath or shower, exercise, self-massage or self-touch, eating crunchy foods, chewing (a safe chewable object!) or a pacifier (adult versions are available at, etc.
Walking on the bare earth with bare feet. (Usually comes with a side order of sun exposure which can raise vitamin D levels and is also a great wellness support)
Forest Bathing
Similar to sun bathing but done under a canopy of leaves, allowing a combination of soaking in nature in terms of experiences, sounds, hopefully fresh air, and so on.
Holistic therapies
Yoga, massage, acupuncture, reiki, etc. can help you learn to ground. You may be able to find mindfulness instruction/classes in your area — sometimes even for free. Try your local library, or mental health non-profits for resources.
Five Senses Exercise or 5-4-3-2-1 Technique
Name 5 things you can see, 4 things you can feel, 3 things you can hear, 2 things you can smell, and 1 thing you can taste. This intentionally turns the attention of the fronter to their physical surroundings, helping to ground them in the body as well as in the Here and Now. Combining this exercise with a walk in the neighborhood or a park can make it even more enjoyable and effective.
Any activity that fully engages a person's mental and sensory skills can be used as an earthing exercise. There are many intricate coloring books that help to engage focus and creativity through sight. Knitting or crocheting require attention and are also very tactile activities that help to focus the sense of touch. Cooking engages all of the senses, however, with the potential dangers of knives and heat, there must be a fairly strong connection to the Here and Now already established.
Note: avoid guided meditations/visualizations, past-life regression, and hypnosis. Folk who are on the strong end of the dissociative experiences scale are usually highly hypnotizable and open to suggestion, and need practitioners who are highly trusted and aware of how to interact with DID/OSDD systems before employing these techniques.

Don't Predict; Plan

Try to live more in the present moment, and plan for the future rather than playing "what if" games in your head.

Every "what if…?" is an invitation to plan, not to imagine.

All of our power and control are actually found in the Now. We can’t change the past — we have no power/control over what has already happened (only how we respond to it and process our feelings about it today). Try as we might to predict the future — our crystal ball is broken (even thinking we have one is a feature of trauma) and we may want things to be reliably predictable but we’re predicting things based on trauma responses more than actual prescience. Our real power & control is in the now. If we think “well what if Z happens??!?” all the power over Z lies in the now and whether we fear it, avoid it, determine how realistic it is that Z might happen, or we plan for it. Our favorite is “Don’t predict; plan!” — if our nervous system says “Well what if Z happens?” we take the question seriously. Ok, body, what if Z happens — how can we plan for that and mitigate it?

So for example we plan a roadtrip for tomorrow, body goes "But what if it snows!?" Ok, body -- so let's consider "what if it snows?" We can a) cancel the plans, b) delay leaving until we're sure the roads are safe c) leave tonight instead d) pack a shovel & snow brush, and make sure we have emergency supplies in the car… (etc.). Some of these ideas may feel "right" -- like maybe planning not to go if it snows, and planning to bring emergency supplies anyway in case it still might snow even after we leave. This is exercising our power/control in the Now rather than sitting there letting our body go off on a whole bunch of predictions about the (future) road trip -- we're paying attention to the anxiety, and giving it an answer at the same time, all because we're in the Now and doing what we can about it today, and that may lay the fears to rest. The body (autonomic nervous system) is in charge of keeping us safe and does this by making predictions like this -- all the time. Sometimes over little things, sometimes big obvious things. But our power to work with our nervous system is right now. This very moment. And if we get good at working in collaboration with it in the Now -- then we will bring that ability with us when we leave tomorrow too (whether it snows or not).

Also -- don't plan forever; execute the plan :)


This page has contributions from The Sandhill Cranes, 2020.

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