How to quickly ease anxiety

If your mind is racing and panic and worry have set in, this simple grounding technique will help to restore a sense of calm. 

Anxiety is a normal human response to high-stress situations, but it can become overwhelming and interfere with daily life. If you’re prone to intense worry or panic, grounding techniques are a wonderful way to get you out of your head and help break the cycle.

One of our favourites is the 5-4-3-2-1 technique, which distracts the mind by engaging all five key senses to help you focus on your surroundings. It’s so simple and can be done by anyone, anywhere, anytime. 

How to do it:

Close your eyes and take a few deep breaths in and out (through your nose, if possible). Then open your eyes and name the following out loud: 

5 – things you can see. Try not to state the obvious and focus instead on little details such as the pattern on a rug, the texture of a curtain. If outside, notice the shape of the clouds, the lean of a tree, the colour of a flower… 

4 – things you can feel. Pay attention to the weight of the clothes on your body, the sunlight on your skin, the breeze in your hair, the cool touch of a door handle… 

3 – things you can hear. Tune into distant sounds like birds chirping, wind blowing, neighbours talking, clocks ticking or traffic in a nearby street. 

2 – things you can smell. Take in smells in the air, like freshly cut grass or dust. Alternatively, inhale the fragrance on your skin, the scent of a flower, the smell of food in the kitchen… 

1 – thing you can taste. If there are no lingering tastes in your mouth, take a piece of chocolate or chewing gum and focus on the flavour of that instead. 

Other helpful grounding techniques for your tool box include deep nasal breathing (which instantly calms the stress centres in your brain); lying with your legs up a wall (more soothing than it sounds!); dancing or exercising off excess adrenalin (anything that brings you back into your body is good); inhaling essential oils or standing barefoot on the grass. 

Whatever technique you choose, make sure you practice it regularly (yes, even when calm) so that it becomes familiar to the brain and thus easy to draw on when needed. 

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