Managing flashbacks as they happen

Flashbacks can be unpredictable and accompanied by very intense feelings. This can be overwhelming. When you are having a flashback, grounding techniques can help you to keep your awareness in the present moment, rather than being transported back to the traumatic event.

Here are 3 grounding techniques that can help to reduce the intensity of flashbacks when you experience them:

1. Try to remind yourself of the ‘here and now’

Silently, tell yourself where you are, what day it is, and what you can see. Describe what you can see in as much detail as you can. You can even say a poem or sing a song to yourself. This will help you stay connected to the present moment.

2. Think of a safe and calming image and keep this in mind

The image could be an actual place or somewhere that you imagine. Think about what you can see, hear, feel, smell, and taste to engage all of your senses. The more senses that you engage, the more relaxing it is likely to be. This takes practice.

3. Find an object that you can carry with you all of the time

It can be helpful to keep hold of a small stone, a ring, beads, a coin, or piece of cloth. If you notice that you are about to have, or do have, a flashback, hold (or smell) the object to help keep you in the present moment.