This mindfulness card deck is designed to be a fun way to invite kids, adults, and groups to turn their attention to their body in a trauma-sensitive way.
Perfect for parents, teachers, and those in the mental health field, these mindfulness cards are a tool to help soothe, distract, and calm. By prompting thoughtful attention to specific sensations, the Mindful Grounding Card Deck can help us ground into our bodies while avoiding trauma triggers.
This 36-card Mindfulness Card Deck features 34 different grounding ideas, 1 instruction card, and 1 card with a blank front (so you can add your own favorite activity to the set!).
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Choose this option to download and print a pdf version. For best results, you’ll need heavy cardstock, a paper cutter, and a round-edge cutter. (Patrons may print up to 3 copies free.)
Using This Mindfulness Card Deck:
It can be incredibly challenging to help someone who is outside of their window of tolerance return to a state where they are able to listen, learn, and engage.
When emotion becomes overwhelming, brains tend to literally dis-integrate: the parts of the brain that manage emotion, logic, and bodily experience become overwhelmed and disjointed from one another. This dis-integrated state can look like tantrums, extreme inconsolable panic, or the blank affect and total shut-down of dissociation.
Research shows that mindfulness practices help to combat mental distress, especially during times of stress (like during a global pandemic). One way to help calm and soothe a brain in this state is through mindfulness exercises that help our brain move attention to body-based sensations.
When we can turn attention to a physical feeling, we can help our brains and bodies reconnect and ground back into a state where we can focus, listen, and calm ourselves. Therapists call these activities “grounding activities,” and often use them as one part of treatment for trauma.
Using the Grounding Deck for Mental Health Professionals:
If you’ve been in therapy as a client or a therapist, you may be familiar with grounding exercises that ask a person to name things they can see, hear, or touch. Once only used by trauma therapists helping clients with dissociation, more and more therapists now use these exercises with a wide variety of clients, based on emerging brain science in the universal benefits of mindfulness.
These traditional exercises work based on the same theory described above of connecting brain and body; however, when we repeat the same old grounding exercises (5 4 3 2 1 grounding exercise, am I right?) over and over, week after week, familiarity and repition can sometimes make them less effective. This deck solves that problem: shuffling and drawing three new cards keeps grounding exercises novel and interesting.
Using the Grounding Deck for Parents, Teachers, and Childcare Professionals:
For still-developing young brains, it can be especially hard to self-soothe or “calm down” when feelings start to be overwhelming. Taking a break to play this mindfulness game can help keep frustration or overstimulation from developing into an emotionally explosive state. Grounding cards can be a way to interrupt, pause, and reset during highly frustrating or upsetting situations.
The Theory behind this Trauma-Informed Mindfulness Activity:
Sometimes, body-focused mindfulness activities can trigger intrusive thoughts and sensations for trauma survivors.
Using my own training in trauma-informed therapy, I designed these cards to minimize this possibility: Rather than wide-open questions about global body sensations (which can invite or even trigger body memories, according to Dr. David A. Treleaven who wrote Trauma Sensitive Mindfulness), this deck focuses on inviting participants to make a small movement with their body, and then mindfully noticing what that particular sensation feels like. These smaller, more narrowly-focused mindfulness activities can help trauma survivors access the benefits of mindfulness while minimizing opportunity for intrusive thoughts and sensations to interrupt.
More about the deck:
36 ILLUSTRATED IDEAS – This Mindfulness Card Deck features 34 inclusively-illustrated grounding ideas, 1 instruction card, and 1 blank card (so you can add your own favorite activity to the set!). Cards measure 2.5in x 3.5in and come packaged in a full-color reusable storage box.
TRAUMA-SENSITIVE – These therapist-designed cards are thoughtfully designed to be trauma-sensitive. The highly specific mindfulness prompts may be easier for trauma survivors than more general mindfulness activities.
MINDFULNESS FOR KIDS, ADULTS, & GROUPS – This simple card game is a fun and engaging way to invite kids and adults to refocus their attention on specific body sensations, which can help soothe a dysregulated brain, calm frazzled nerves, and help players be more grounded and ready to learn.
DURABLE AND HIGH QUALITY – Each card is printed on playing-card grade cardstock, custom cut with stylish rounded corners, and finished with an ultra-durable finish that’s designed to be handled.
FOR PARENTS & PROFESSIONALS – Ideal for use by teachers in classrooms as a social-emotional learning tool to help kids calm down, and equally valuable as a therapy intervention for kids and adults working with therapists and counselors. The mindful grounding activities card deck can be used by children and adults to get grounded into their body following being really upset, dissociated, or having big emotions.