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    Knowing What You Feel
    Handling Negative Thoughts
    Building Self-Esteem  
    Managing Stress  
    Calming Tools

Calming Tools

Square Breathing

Breathe in for 4, hold for 4, exhale for 4, wait for 4. Repeat 4 times, or until you are calm.

Breathing Square (2)

My Safe Place Tree 

A Free Printable from The Art of Social Work

My Safe Place Tree 


Mindfulness techniques can help you create a buffer between your thoughts and your feelings. What is Mindfulness explains how this works and why you may want to try it.

Grounding Techniques

Adapted from trauma + substance abuse © National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre 2011, Australia

There may be times when you are suffering emotional pain that you want to detach yourself from. Grounding exercises can help you to stay present and connected to the world in a safe way. Here are a few different types of exercises you might find useful.

Mental Grounding Ideas:

  • Describe objects around you in detail, using all your senses.
  • Describe an everyday activity, such as eating or driving to work, in detail.
  • Make a here-and-now statement about yourself – your name, your age, your location, the date.
  • Say the alphabet slowly.
  • Count backwards from 20.

Physical Grounding Ideas:

  • Run cool or warm water over your hands.
  • Press your heels into the floor.
  • Touch objects around you as you say their names.
  • Jump up and down.
  • Change your posture to a more upright one.
  • Stretch.
  • As you inhale say “in,” and when you exhale say “out” or “calm.”

Soothing Grounding Ideas:

  • Rub nice smelling hand cream slowly into hands and arms and notice the feel and smell.
  • Say encouraging statements to yourself such as “You’re okay. You’ll get through this.”
  • Think of favorites of any kind of object (e.g., cars) or animal.
  • Think of a place where you felt calm and peaceful, describe where you were, what was around you and what you were doing.
  • Plan something nice for yourself such time with a friend.
  • Think of things you look forward to doing in the next few days.

Need Help Now?


California Youth Crisis Line: 1-800-843-5200
Connecting youth to trained counselors and local services, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week

Your Life Your Voice1-800-448-3000

Crisis Text Line: send text to 741 741 


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If you have questions about your rights or need help with other issues while you are in foster care, contact the Office of the Foster Care Ombudsperson.
Foster Care Ombudsperson
1-877-846-1602 (toll-free helpline)

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