You can use this coping technique with anyone who is feeling anxious. It helps them to regain focus on the present situation, calming them down. This grounding technique uses your five senses to focus on the moment you are in and helps you to avoid anxious or stressful thoughts that might make the situation worse.
This technique asks you to find five things you can see, four things you can touch, three things you can hear, two things you can smell, and one thing you can taste. Using this with someone who feels anxious will help to calm them down and reduce their feelings of anxiety. Read on to find out how to use the 5-4-3-4-2-1 coping technique for anxiety.
Five things you can see
The first step to the 5-4-3-2-1 coping technique for anxiety is to name five things that you can see.
Look around you and count five things that you can see and say them out loud. You might be able to see people walking by, birds flying in the sky, or the rain running down the window. Whatever it may be, as long as you can see it, it counts.
Take a deep breath in between each thing you can see. This will help to level your breathing and will begin to calm you down.
Four things you can touch
Once you have named five things you can see, you can move on to name four things you can touch.
Maybe you are sat on a chair and you can feel the chair on your legs or back. You might be able to feel the ground that you are stood on. Even your hands on a table counts. As long as you can touch it, it counts.
Once again, take a deep breath in between each thing that you name.
Three things you can hear
Once you have named four things you can touch, you can move on to name three things you can hear.
Whether you are inside or outside, you will be able to hear things around you. If you’re at home, you might be able to hear the washing machine or the clock ticking in the background. If you’re outside, you might be able to hear birds chirping or cars moving down the street.
No matter what it is, as long as you can hear it, it counts. Remember to keep taking deep breaths in between each thing that you name.
Two things you can smell
Once you have named three things you can hear, you can move on to name two things you can smell.
It might be easier to do this with your eyes closed, to stop any distractions. Maybe you can smell lovely food cooking in the oven, or you might be able to smell flowers or an air freshener near you.
Whatever it is, as long as you can smell it, it counts. Once again, don’t forget to take those deep breaths. You might be feeling a bit less anxious by now.
One thing you can taste
Finally, once you have named two things you can smell, you can move on to name one thing you can taste.
You might be able to taste the coffee you had this morning or some food you’ve eaten. Perhaps you can taste chocolate or a tangy taste of orange from your breakfast.
Whatever it is, as long as you can taste it, it counts. Take one more deep breath and you’re done! Hopefully, after this, you feel a little less anxious and a bit more relaxed.
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