Stress management tools


Grounding exercises

There are many grounding activities that can help survivors cope with flashbacks. These exercises aim to bring the survivor into the present moment.

One common exercise is called 5-4-3-2-1: You teach the survivor to notice FIVE things s/he can see; FOUR things s/he can touch or feel on the skin; THREE things s/he can hear; TWO things she/he can smell; and ONE thing s/he can taste.

Other exercises include:

  1. Spritz your face (with eyes closed), neck, arms and hands with a fine water mister.
  2. Put your feet firmly on the ground.
  3. Listen

Meditation & mindfulness techniques

Again, there are many meditation and breathing techniques that may be helpful to clients.

Toys for stress management

Stress toys can be helpful to give the client something physical to occupy their hands with and ground them during a stressful session. Recommended toys:

    • "floppy noodle balls" or "puffer balls" are tactile and flexible, and can be found in online stores like the Trainer's Warehouse or Curious Minds.
    • "magic loops" are metal rings with beads that can be folded into ball-like and flower-like shapes, and can be found at Office Playground.
    • the Hoberman’s Sphere is a foldable ball that can be used as a visual guide for a breathing exercise. It can be found at the Hoberman website.

    Other good sources for


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