When difficult emotions threaten to overwhelm - like anxiety, anger, or the desire to self-harm - they tend to push clear thinking away. Giving teens tools to stand up to those feelings can give them a concrete way of lowering the emotions and re-engaging with clear thinking. A good way to do that is to pull the focus away from the world inside where feelings are in charge and toward the concrete world outside of you. This is called “grounding”.
Print the "Big 5" card so students can tuck it into their pocket or binder. Help them practice stopping and slowly answering these five big questions to wake up their brain: What are five things I see? What are four things I can touch? What are three things I hear? What are two things I smell? What is one thing I know? Ask them to notice how their emotions calm as they begin to concentrate on things that are concrete around them.
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