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The 5-4-3-2-1 Technique for anxiety


This technique gives 5 steps to take when you’re feeling stressed or anxious.


Taking these 5 steps might not be overnight magic but can significantly help reduce symptoms of anxiety, trauma triggers, and other unwanted emotions or thoughts.


With any type of trigger, emotion, or thought that needs coping skills, it is important to always remember slow, deep, long breathing.

So start breathing slowly in & out 5 times then go through these steps



5: Acknowledge FIVE things you see around you. Maybe it is a bird, maybe it is mug, maybe it is a spot on the wall, however big or small, state 5 things you see.

4: Acknowledge FOUR things you can touch around you. Maybe this is your hair, hands, wall, desk, grass, pillow, etc, whatever it may be, list out the 4 things you can feel.

3: Acknowledge THREE things you hear. This needs to be external, do not focus on your thoughts; maybe you can hear a clock, a car, a dog.

2: Acknowledge TWO things you can smell: This one might be hard if you are not in a stimulating environment - if you cannot smell anything walk nearby to find a scent. Maybe you walk to your bathroom to smell soap or outside to smell anything in nature, or even could be as simple as smelling your clothes. Whatever it may be, take in the smells around you.

1. Acknowledge ONE thing you can taste. What does the inside of your mouth taste like, gum, coffee, or the sandwich from lunch? Focus on your mouth as the last step and take in what you can taste.

These five steps are a way to ground yourself in the NOW! Take you out of your head and help stop you flooded thoughts.

In Cognitive Behavioral Therapy it is believed that your thoughts are directly linked to how you feel and although we feel like we lose control of our thought processes, we have tools that can help us gain back a sense of control and lead to healthier thought patterns.

In moments of anxiety or triggered trauma it is important to stay present to help find relief.

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