Managing Anxiety Using Grounding Techniques
We can be affected by anxiety when we least expect it. Grounding techniques are an easy way to relieve anxiety, quickly and effectively. The wonder of the 5-4-3-2-1 method of grounding is that it can be accessed anywhere, anytime, and is completely free.
At times, we know in advance that certain situations can make us anxious, and so we prepare adequately. Yet other times, anxiety can grip us and hold us without notice. The wonder of this grounding method is it can be accessed anywhere at any time, and is effective in a social scene or a professional setting.
The 5-4-3-2-1 method is based on the principle that the more in touch with our body we are, and the more aware of the world around us, then the more grounded, and thus relaxed we are.
It is the way of the world these days to be ‘in our head’,
It is the way of the world these days to be ‘in our head’, yet when we are grounded, our body, mind and soul work together in unison and we feel perfectly happy, grounded and relieved from anxiety. The wonder of this method is it can be accessed anywhere, such as the office, which is often where we can get most anxious. Just by remembering 5, 4, 3, 2, 1, you will start the process of bringing peace and harmony back to your mind and body, and grounding yourself, becoming more present and aware in yourself, and the world around you.
The 5-4-3-2-1 Grounding Method For Anxiety
5- The Number Five
So start with number five, thinking of five things you can see, and labeling them in your mind. For example, I see a clock on the wall, a desk, a phone, a window and a floating cloud. Label them and hold them clearly in your mind.
4- The Number Four
Now come to things you can touch, four of them – the smoothness of your skin, your hair. Find four things to touch and touch them. Already at this stage, your brain is starting to let go of the anxious thoughts, connect to the present, and ground to a sense of calm.
3- The Number Three
Listening gently to the world around you, bring your awareness to the sounds you can hear, perhaps laughter. Locate three sounds and label them in your mind.
2- The Number Two
The sense of smell is one of the most powerful senses. Smells can trigger memories, thoughts and emotions. The smell of a good cup of coffee or an apple pie is almost always a pleasant calming scent. Find two scents, or think of two scents that are pleasing to you, enjoy them and label them in your mind.
1- The Number One
Coming to the last and final stage, number 1, find something you can taste. Savor it, taste it as fully as you can. Now you are grounded, feeling more whole and complete and connected.
You may not always be able to control when debilitating anxious thoughts come. However, with the right tools in your tool-set, you can take control over how long those anxious thoughts persist. Grounding techniques are a great tool to help you reset and refocus your thoughts when anxiety tries to hijack your mind.
There are many different types of grounding techniques. The 5-4-3-2-1 method is one of our favorites. If grounding techniques are new to you, do yourself a favor and do a search to find the ones to best suit you. Most importantly, use the technique, commit it to memory and practice it often.
Click the following infographic to enlarge and print as a handy guide to the 5-4-3-2-1 technique
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