Wellness Technique: Using the 5-4-3-2-1 Method to Calm Anxiety
Anyone can feel anxious at any given time but we all can experience anxiety in different ways. Some calming exercises may work better for one person but not another. However, when we engage all of our senses, it can be a powerful tool to help us calm the anxiety that we may be feeling. We can do this by using the 5-4-3-2-1
method. With this method, you change your focus, one by one, to each of your 5 senses. Start by focusing on:
- 5 Things You See
Look at your surroundings and find 5 different points to focus on such as trees, plants, birds, pictures on the wall, desktop paperweights, animals at play, cars driving by, people walking, etc.
- 4 Things You Feel
Feel the wind or a fan at your face. Does it make your hair
move? Feel your hands in your pockets. What do you have in your pockets? Press on your leg or another body part for 30 seconds and then stop. Touch the furniture around you. If possible, run your hands under some water; cold and then hot.
- 3 Things You Hear
Listen to your surroundings. Can you hear tree leaves blowing, a dog barking, computer typing, traffic sounds, or people talking? If possible, try putting on some music.
- 2 Things You
Can you smell flowers, trees, or fresh cut grass around you? Find a bathroom and smell a scented soap. If you keep one with you, take a whiff of an essential oil. Or, you can light a scented candle.
- 1 Thing You Taste
Try to keep some mints or gum in your pocket so you can pop one in your mouth during moments like this. See if you can find a candy bowl in a lobby or take a sip of your coffee or water. If you're at home, you could grab a
small bite of a snack. Sometimes even the thought of a minty piece of gum in your mouth may be enough.
When you pull your focus away from what is causing your anxiety, it can go away. So the goal here is to focus on what is around you rather than your anxiety. Take your time and make sure to do all the steps in the 5-4-3-2-1 method. And if you so choose, keep a few of these items ready to go by the door or in your purse so that you will have them with
you if you need them.
Be sure to utilize all the techniques and recipes from our previous newsletters in the "Cue to Be Well" archive: