Video Game Grounding Exercises
Grounding with CheckPoint
Grounding is an incredibly powerful way of returning to baseline when something has trigger distress, anxiety or anything else that’s tough to deal with. Maybe you get angry very easily, or you get panic attacks from certain triggers. When you use these simple techniques, you take the power back from your emotional responses, making life’s challenges much more manageable.
There are lots of popular grounding exercises out there, just Googling it will show hundreds. Here at CheckPoint, we’re passionate about assisting the mental health of gamers, and so our series of grounding techniques are perfect for the gaming community. Next time you feel overwhelmed, try one out!
Breathe Like Kirby
Imagine your breaths are controlling Kirby, and he’s floating in the sky, over and under the clouds. As you breathe in, Kirby gets more buoyant and floats up. As you breathe out, he drifts downwards. To keep Kirby afloat, you have to take long and gentle breaths, not too deep. Try counting to 4 on the way in, and 7 on the way out (or, 7 and 10 if you count very quickly!)
Keep Kirby afloat for 2 minutes and you’ve completed the level. Well done!
The Five Senses
This works best if you do the normal 5 things exercise first. Once you get really good at it you can jump straight to the gaming bit!
Imagine you’re in the role of your favourite character, in your favourite game. For me, I’d use the example of Link in Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time.
Pretending you are this character, imagine what would be going on in the world around you. List five things you might see, four things you might hear, three things you might be able to touch, two things you could smell, and one thing you might taste. In my example it would be this:
- Link can see Epona, the grass of Hyrule field, Lon Lon Ranch in the distance, some rupees on the ground, and a rock he can roll into.
- Link can hear the overworld music, the wind in the trees, a poe’s laughter, and his own footsteps
- Link can touch his master sword, his kokiri tunic, and Epona’s reins
- Link can smell the flowers in the field, and the bread baking from Hyrule Market Town
- Link can taste a potion he just drank!
These Are Five Of My Favourite Things
The traditional version of this exercise involves you thinking of your favourite sight, sound, smell, taste and feeling, and assigning them to each of the fingers on your hand. In our version, we’re going to shake it up a bit.
You are still going to associate a finger for each thing, but instead of senses:
- Your thumb = your favourite ever console
- Your index finger = your favourite ever game franchise
- Your middle finger = your favourite ever single game
- Your ring finger = your favourite level/part of the game
- Your little finger/pinkie = your favourite character in the game
If it helps, you can draw around your hand and write each thing on the relevant finger. When you look at your hand, this will be what you think of now, and you can go through and every finger will remind you of that favourite gaming experience. Think about how you felt when you first played it, or how familiar and safe it seems when you go back to it. Think about what it is in that game that you love so much.
Gotta Catch ‘Em All
This one is my favourite. Set a timer and try to see how many Pokemon you can name in that time. If you get stuck, think about the Pokerap!
I actually use Sporcle for these ones, as the quizzes there are a really good way of finding new themed distraction/grounding techniques and you can keep track of your answers as you go. (Try to beat my score, I just did it and got a whopping 139!)
Re-orient yourself in place and time by asking yourself these questions:
- Where am I?
- What is today?
- What is the date?
- What is the month?
- What is the year?
- How old am I?
- What season is it?
Now do it again, but put yourself in the shoes of your favourite character, and ask…
- What is my name?
- What is this world called?
- Who are my companions/friends?
- What is my quest?
- Where am I heading to?
Let’s do it with Nier: Automata.
- My name is 2B.
- I am on the bunker.
- My partner is 9S.
- My quest is to help humans get back to Earth.
- I’m heading to the resistance camp.
If you have any suggestions for gaming themed grounding exercises, get in touch! We’d love to hear from you.