Tips from the Zen Den: 5,4,3,2,1 technique

How to ease anxiety with the 5,4,3,2,1 technique

This is a tried and tested technique by one of my clients that I absolutely love. It’s been backed by many psychologists as The Independent newspaper article I’ll link to will attest too.

‘When anxiety threatens our peace of mind, it can be difficult to stay in the moment.

But one mindfulness tool used by multiple psychologists has the potential to pull our brains free from the anxiety by grounding us in the present.

The “5-4-3-2-1” tool is a simple yet effective method for regaining control of your mind when anxiety threatens to take over – and it consists of more than counting backwards from five. The hack helps bring us back to the present by relying on our five senses – sight, sound, touch, smell, and taste:

5 things you can see (look around and notice your surroundings – notice colours, textures, animals, people etc)

4 things you can hear (traffic, music, chatter)

3 things you can feel (could be your chair underneath you, your feet in your shoes)

2 things you can smell (deodorant, aftershave, someone’s lunch!)

1 thing you can taste’. (My client and I prefer to swap this one for one steady breathe in and out)

I find this really cuts through the mindless chatter in the head and immerses you in your surroundings, holding each finger as you do it also connects your mind to body.

As the article says: ‘The trick, which relies on sensory awareness, is rooted in mindfulness – and apart from anxiety, it can help treat depression, addiction disorders, lower blood pressure, and relieve stress, according to Harvard University’s Helpguide.org.

So the next time you are feeling anxious, focus on what you can see, feel, and touch – and ignore the insecurities that only exist inside your head.’

Click here for full article: The Independent: Mindfulness techniques

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