How to Stop Dissociating: Practical Strategies and Mindfulness Techniques


Dissociation is a disconnection from reality, either mentally or emotionally, that can result from experiencing a traumatic event or prolonged stress. This state of mind can lead to a range of negative consequences, including anxiety, depression, and difficulty in daily life.

The good news is that this condition is treatable through various techniques and strategies that we will discuss in this article. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll delve into the practical ways to end dissociation and mindfulness techniques that anyone can apply to their everyday life.

Understanding Dissociation

Dissociation is a psychological response that takes us out of the present moment or a particular situation that feels overwhelming or even unbearable. It is the mind’s way of protecting us by creating distance between what we are experiencing and our emotional responses to it.

Causes of Dissociation

The causes of dissociation are varied and complex, including; childhood trauma, physical, sexual or emotional abuse, domestic violence, neglect, war, and natural disasters.

Signs and Symptoms of Dissociation

The signs of dissociation can be difficult to recognize, as they are not always apparent. Individuals with this condition may feel disconnected from their body, like watching a film of themselves. They may have a sense of unreality or feel like they are daydreaming. Memory loss is also a common symptom, as is a lack of emotional responsiveness.

What Dissociation Feels Like

Dissociation can manifest differently for each individual, but there are some common experiences people with this condition share. These include feeling numb, disconnected from surroundings, and an inability to fully experience emotions. They may also feel a sense of being outside of one’s own body, separate from their thoughts or sensations.

The Relationship Between Trauma and Dissociation

Trauma frequently triggers dissociation, and the two are often intimately linked. This is because trauma can fundamentally alter our perceptions and responses to everyday situations, making it challenging to remain present.

How Trauma Affects Our Ability to Stay Present

When we experience trauma, our body’s survival mechanisms kick in to protect us. These mechanisms can include adrenaline rushes, tensed-up muscles, and shutting out feelings. If left unchecked, it can lead to the development of trauma-related disorders, including anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

Common Types of Traumatic Experiences

The types of traumatic experiences that can lead to dissociation can be any event that causes significant stress, including abuse, accidents, natural disasters, violent attacks, radical changes in environment, and other stressful events.

Coping Mechanisms That Can Lead to Dissociation

We all have different ways of coping with stress and trauma, and some coping mechanisms can exacerbate dissociation. Some of these mechanisms include avoidance tactics, such as numbing oneself with drugs or alcohol, withdrawing from social situations, and self-destructive behavior. In contrast, mindfulness can be an effective tool in managing dissociation symptoms.

Practical Strategies for Ending Dissociation

Grounding Techniques

Grounding techniques are a set of strategies that help bring ourselves back to the present and keep our attention focused on the moment. Some commonly used techniques include deep breathing, noticing our surroundings, and naming things we can see, hear, touch, smell, or taste. Body-focused strategies like yoga or stretching can also be useful in grounding individuals with dissociation.

Building a Support System

A support system is an essential component of recovery from dissociation. There are many ways to establish a support network such as friends, family, online support groups, and professional counseling. Friends or family can provide emotional support, validation, and guidance when we need it. We can also find others who have similar experiences by joining support groups or online forums. Professional counseling is also an option and can provide an objective and expert perspective.

Seeking Professional Help

While there are many strategies and techniques available for self-help, some situations may necessitate professional help. If you find that your dissociative episodes are impacting your daily life, professional counselors can help you work through the underlying causes of your symptoms. Therapists can employ a combination of cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), dialectical behavior therapy (DBT), and Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) to help you manage the condition.

Developing Greater Mindfulness

How Mindfulness Can Help with Dissociation

Mindfulness is a practice that focuses on developing non-judgmental awareness of the present moment, allowing us to exist and act fully without being overwhelmed by thoughts and emotions. Practicing mindfulness can allow us to stay present and better manage dissociation symptoms.

Mindful Breathing Exercises

Mindful breathing is a technique that involves focusing your attention on your breath, bringing awareness back to the present moment, and calming the mind. The process involves breathing slowly and deeply while counting to five with each inhalation and exhalation. Focusing on your breath this way can help you anchor yourself in the present, reducing feelings of dissociation.

Mindful Body Scans

Mindful body scanning is a technique that involves focussing your mind on various parts of your body, usually starting with the feet and working all the way up to the head. This technique can help you become more aware of your physical sensations while also reducing dissociation. It can bring back an experiential sense of yourself, which is an essential step in addressing dissociation symptoms.

The Power of Meditation

The Role of Meditation in Reducing Dissociation

Meditation is another mindfulness technique that can be helpful in reducing dissociation symptoms. It involves sitting or lying down, closing your eyes, and focusing your attention on an object, word, or thought. This practice helps the brain to regulate itself and can help individuals become more aware and present.

Types of Meditation Practices

There are many types of meditation, but some that are best in reducing dissociation symptoms include loving-kindness meditation, mantra meditation, and body scan meditation. Each type has unique benefits that can enhance the effectiveness of thought.

Tips for Incorporating Meditation into Daily Life

Integrating meditation into daily life can be challenging, but it is essential for long-term benefits. The best way to integrate the technique is to start small, focusing on just a few minutes of practice each day. You can then gradually increase the duration as your skills improve. Another way to incorporate meditation into your daily routine is with guided meditation apps or classes. They can provide critical tips and support


Dissociation is a treatable condition, and there is a wealth of information available on its management. If you feel that you might be dissociating or experiencing related symptoms, don’t hesitate to reach out for help. With the right counseling, support, and mindfulness techniques, it is possible to overcome dissociation for good and lead a fulfilling life.

The Importance of Seeking Help for Dissociation

Dissociation can have long-term negative effects on our health and wellbeing, so it’s essential to seek help when we need it. Reaching out for professional help can be scary or intimidating, but it’s an essential step in recovery. Support from friends and family can be great, but professionals who are trained in dissociation work can provide a more objective and expert perspective.

Reiterating the Benefits of Reducing Dissociation

Reducing dissociation can have lasting benefits on our psychological and emotional wellbeing. It can help us lead a more fulfilling life, with richer emotional experiences, stronger relationships, and better coping mechanisms to deal with future stressors.

Encouraging Readers to Practice Mindfulness and Meditation Regularly

Finally, we want to encourage our readers to practice mindfulness and meditation regularly. These powerful techniques can help us remain present and address dissociation symptoms while at the same time improving our overall happiness and wellbeing.

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