Recognition, Empowerment, and Action for Child Mental Health

Grounding exercises are things you can do to bring yourself into contact with the present moment – the here and now. They can be quick strategies or longer, more formal exercises. helpful for many situations where you find yourself becoming overwhelmed or distracted by distressing memories, thoughts or feelings. They can reduce immediate distress and help promote calmness and self-regulation. 

Play a memory game
Look at a detailed photograph or picture (like a cityscape or other “busy” scene) for 5 to 10 seconds. Then, turn the photograph face-down and recreate the photograph in your mind, in as much detail as possible. Or, you can mentally list all the things you remember from the picture. Games like these are great grounding techniques as they require the individual to focus their attention and strengthen their visual memory.

Visualize your safe place
Think of your favorite place, whether it’s the home of a loved one or a foreign country. Using each of your senses, imagine the noises you hear, the objects you see, and the scents you can smell.

Try to recall the last time you went there. Think about what you did there and how it felt at the time. This is a great technique foe times when you’re feeling emotionally overwhelmed or triggered in an environment.

Imagine yourself leaving the painful feelings behind

Visualize yourself gathering the emotions, balling them up, and putting them into a box to throw away forever. Imagine yourself walking, swimming, biking, or jogging away from the painful feelings. You can also visualize your thoughts as a song or TV show you dislike, changing the channel or turning down the volume — they may still be there, but you don’t have to listen to them.


Here, you’ll find featured resources, techniques, and tools for youth ranging from mindfulness meditations and anchoring strategies to yoga practices; all proven effective to promote mental health and self-care for youth and adolescents.

Also check out our full list on the RESOURCES page. For more information on Youth Mental Health First Aid trainings, reach out to us at