Grounding Practices for Binge Eating or Emotional Eating Urges

Grounding practices can help you disengage from overwhelming cravings and urges to eat in ways that do not serve you. Try one of these techniques next time you feel an urge to binge or eat in response to uncomfortable emotional experiences like anger, frustration, or anxiety. You may find it helpful to keep a list of grounding practices you find useful within easy access, like on your phone.

The goal of grounding is to root yourself back in the here and now of your current environment so you don’t get lost in your mind/distress/craving. Grounding is an ‘in the moment’ practice that can be helpful as you work over the longer term on other factors and dynamics that impact your binge eating.

Here are some grounding techniques:

  1. Rainbow  — Look around your environment and identify objects corresponding to each color of the rainbow: Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue, Purple.
  2. Circles & Squares — Identify five objects in your environment that are circles and five that are squares.
  3. Read Backwards — Find something to read. Starting at the end, work backwards. For example, the sentence “I am here in the room” would become “moor eht ni ereh ma I” (or “room the in here am I”, whatever you prefer).
  4. Categories — Pick a category and list as many things you can think of that belong to it. Examples: animals, movies, song titles, vacation destinations, and cartoon characters.
  5. Describe your environment — Look around your environment and describe what you see non-judgmentally. Describe the objects, the shapes, colors, numbers of things, etc. Be as detailed as possible.
  6. Repeat a here and now statement — An example: “My name is Tova. I am in my room. Today is Monday December 14, 2020. I am here in the present moment of my life. This feeling will pass.”
  7. Use sensation — Put ice or cold water on your face or wrist, place your feet firmly on the ground, smell something like perfume, play with a fidget or putty.
  8. Repeat comforting phrases — Recite a poem or a song you like. You can also read coping statements or affirmations. You can do this silently or outloud, if you feel comfortable doing so.
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