Anxiety and the importance of your five senses

Anxiety and the importance of your five senses

Whether your anxiety is more of a generalised anxiety – ie. it manifests itself when you’re waiting to do a big speech or ask for a raise at work – or if you suffer with an anxiety condition, a host of mindfulness techniques can help soothe this immediate reaction and tackle an anxiety attack. We’ve already touched on the importance of meditation and could talk for hours about a selection of other techniques, but now we want to chat about one of the basics – the 54321 technique.

Simply put, the 54321 technique requires you to call on each one of your five senses and focus on what you can find around you. It’s considered a grounding technique, pulling you out of your messy, panicking brain and grounding you in the here and now – something that anxiety sufferers will know to be a difficult task to do sometimes. Feel free to give it a go –

Five – what are five things you can see around you? Look for small details or interesting things you’d likely never notice.  

Four– what are four things you can feel? Pick things up, investigate your surroundings or even just sit and feel the sun hit your skin.

Three– what are three things you can hear? Listen to the everyday noises of your home or workplace that often pass you by. 

Two– what are two things you can smell? As with the previous task, focus on the smells you wouldn’t often pick up on every day.

One – what one thing can you taste? Perhaps you’ve just had a coffee or brushed your teeth – focus on that.

 These five, simple steps can be done discreetly and in a short amount of time. If you’re in out and about running errands and can begin to feel anxiety creeping up on you, taking a bit of time out and trying out the 54321 technique will likely be a simple and effective coping mechanism. What’s more, this technique is simple enough to be incredibly useful in anxious children. If your child often complains of anxiety whilst at school, practice the 54321 technique at home and implore them to try it out when things get tough.

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