5 4 3 2 1 Grounding Exercise – Simple Guide!
Stress and anxiety have skyrocketed in recent years — in kids and adults.
It’s crucial we discover strategies to cope, to become more resilient, and manage these uncomfortable feelings.
This five-step 54321 grounding exercise is favourited by many therapists and will help you (and your kids) during periods of stress, anxiety, or even when you just need a little break.
Below, we will walk you through specific instructions to complete this simple but extremely effective 54321 grounding exercise.
Disclaimer: I am not in any way a certified therapist so all the advice is given from my own experience and should not be taken as medical advice.
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What is grounding?
Grounding as a coping skill has been around for some time. The purpose of grounding is to divert focus from something distressing to something more pleasant.
By shifting focus to something in the environment, we can better control what we experience. To do so, we concentrate on using the information our five senses provide.
For example, if I were anxious over something, and could not stop thinking about it, I would look around and focus on something I see, to begin distracting myself from my anxiety.
After performing a grounding exercise, you will be able to shift your focus away from your anxiety by becoming more aware of what is around you.
Grounding is a series of exercises designed to use all your senses. For each sense, you note what your senses are telling you. To begin, we will focus on sight.
5 4 3 2 1 Grounding Exercise
Before you begin the 54321 grounding exercise, you need to take deep, slow, and long breaths as your first priority. This will achieve a calm state of mind before proceeding to the following steps:
Acknowledge five things that you can see around you.
Options can range from a pen or stapler at your office, to a bird or tree while you’re out at the local park.
If you’re at home, you can look at a family photo on the wall or a glass of water on the kitchen counter. You can pick between big and small items to keep your options open.
Acknowledge four things that you can touch around you. You can start with your hair, hands, elbows, and other parts of your body if you’re short on time.
The ground beneath your feet, whether it’s the floor of your bedroom or the office at work, also helps. Pillows, desks, phones, and keyboards can fit this step.
Acknowledge three things you can hear around you. Instead of listening to your own thoughts or sounds from your body like your stomach growling, focus on external noises.
Examples include someone driving a car nearby, a clock ticking, or a dog barking. If you’re at work, you can listen to typing and the steps of people walking by your desk.
Acknowledge two things around you that you can smell.
This step may be a challenge compared to the others, so it’s best to go to a place with more sources of scent if you don’t smell anything wherever you are at the moment.
The outdoors has plenty of options for smells, and the soap in bathrooms also helps. Your furniture can provide pleasant smells for this step when you’re home.
Acknowledge one thing around you that you can taste. It doesn’t necessarily have to be food, as toothpaste and minty floss you use in the morning or at night are easy sources.
You can also go with the oatmeal you have for breakfast, the sandwich and crisps you have for lunch, or the pasta you have for dinner.
Coffee, tea, and other drinks you have to get through the day also work.
End this exercise with a long, deep breath.
5 4 3 2 1 Grounding Exercise – Final thought
With these steps, you will be able to get the most out of the moment.
Focusing on your senses will help you be more mindful, which will then help you accomplish your tasks and experience success.
As a result, you can defeat your anxiety and feel in control of your life. Put this technique into practice to so that you can improve your health and make those big days fun!
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