Anxiety is something we all experience at some time or another, but for many it is a constant challenge. It is estimated that 30% of adults suffer with anxiety and many children as well. At its worst anxiety can be crippling and even when it is not that severe it is extremely unpleasant.
Regular exercise has been proven to be incredibly effective at quickly reducing anxiety and keeping it under control. However exercising is not always practical when you are in the middle of a panic attack or experiencing high anxiety.
In this case the 5-4-3-2-1 technique is a simple method to quickly reduce anxiety that can be done by anyone, anywhere, anytime. The reason it works is because it addresses the root cause of ALL anxiety which is fear and uncertainty about the future. Anxiety is always about what is going to happen – not what is happening right now! Some anxiety is about what is going to happen in the near future – such as when you are about to give a speech and other anxiety is about events further ahead.
In any case if we can shift our mindset to be fully in the present moment anxiety disappears! The 5-4-3-2-1 technique is a great way to do this, and here is how you do it:
1. Start by simply paying attention to your breathing – just pay attention – do not try to change your breathing - just observe it!
2. Next identify 5 things you see around you such as a spot on a wall – a painting – a glass on a table – you can say it out aloud or just to yourself.
3. Next identify 4 things you can feel/touch around you. Could be a wall, a door, your hair, the ground, etc.
4. Next identify 3 things you hear. This could be external like an air conditioner or internal like your belly rumbling.
5. Next identify two things you can smell – you can move around to find some type of odor if you cannot immediately smell something.
6. Next identify something you can taste – like gum, your toothpaste from when you brushed your teeth, or the meal you had before.
Do not worry if you cannot identify every item – the key is shifting your mental focus to your immediate surroundings and connecting with all five senses: sight, sound, touch, taste, and smell.
You will be amazed how quickly this can reduce anxiety and bring you into the present moment where anxiety does not exist!
For more information on this technique click here: https://www.fitnessblender.com/articles/the-5-4-3-2-1-grounding-technique