Whether someone is having a panic attack, experiencing a high level of anxiety or is struggling to fall asleep, finding a way to ease the mind and return to a place of calmness and clarity can be extremely difficult to achieve. That’s why mindfulness/grounding techniques are so important, because they can help someone achieve just that - no matter their current mental state.
The 5,4,3,2,1 technique is a simple, yet powerful grounding technique, bringing quick relief by forcing you to mindful of the environment around you. In order to recommend this technique to someone in your life, we feel it is important you give it a try yourself first. This way you will not only experience first hand its effects, but you can feel more confident explaining it to someone else.
Just like with any mindfulness technique, begin by concentrating on your breath. Notice every inhale and exhale. Focus on trying to take deep belly breaths, with long inhales and forceful exhales.
Now, identify five things that you see. This does not have to be large objects. The smaller and more specific you can be the better.
Found them? Great! Now identify four things that you can touch. Once again, be as detailed as you can. Identify the texture of this object, the temperature, whether it’s wet or dry.
Starting to feel slightly more grounded? Let’s keep going! Now, we would like you to identify three things that you can hear. This can be external sounds like birds chirping or cars driving by. Or, this can be internal sounds, like your stomach rumbling or the sound of your breath.
Almost there! Time to identify two things that you can smell. Don’t be afraid to get up and find something around you. Flowers perhaps, or maybe your favourite essential oil?
Alright, last one. Identify one thing you can taste. What was the last thing you ate or drank? Can you taste it? Is it sour/sweet, bitter/tart. Be specific.
Now this technique is most effective when repeated several times. We recommend a minimum of 3 repetitions, but sometimes it may take 5 or more; it simply depends on the person/situation. Please note that the exercise can also be adjusted as needed. For example, if someone is struggling to sleep and don’t want to turn on the lights, they can simply identify more things from the other senses and skip over vision.
We hope you enjoy this exercise and we thank you for taking the time to teach yourself so you can better help others!