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Grounding technique: Self Hug

The self hug can be a wonderful physical grounding exercise, especially for all the huggers out there. The concept of giving ourselves a hug may seem a bit strange but it can be a very effective way to self-regulate our emotions and connect to our bodies.

Words in images:

How to:

There are a few variations of this so find what works for you:

o Place your dominant hand on your opposite shoulder and place your other hand around your waist. Hold or squeeze while taking slow, intentional breaths.

o Butterfly hug – cross both arms over your chest and place each hand on the opposite shoulder. Gently tap each shoulder with your hand one at a time. Remember to breathe.

o Use your dominant hand to gently stroke your opposite upper arm.


o Find what works for you.

o Repeat or hold for as long as feels right for you.

o Closing your eyes or lowering your gaze may help with connecting to the physical sensations more.

o Gentle stroking to self soothe can be done anywhere without anyone noticing. This can be your arm, hand, thigh, shoulders…anywhere that brings comfort for you.

o Try a self hug with a soothing item of clothing – being wrapped by a soft jumper, a weighted blanket.

o Imagery exercise can be a useful alternative. Imagine receiving a hug from someone or the image of being comforted/held by a soft blanket/cloud. Notice any changes (no matter how big or small) in your physical self, thoughts, sensations, emotions when imaging this.

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