This Simple ‘5-4-3-2-1’ Trick Can Ease Anxiety Immediately

Anxiety effects a significant number of us, and when you feel it starting to take its grip it’s hard to both keep perspective and your calm.

There are countless tricks and tips out there that boast being able to help you from spiraling deeper into well of worries.

Boston University clinical psychologist Ellen Hendriksen, author of new book How to Be Yourself: Quiet the Inner Critic and Rise Above Social Anxiety, has shared a simple mindfulness trick that is said to ease anxiety immediately.

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Chatting to Vice, Hendriksen explained that the ‘5-4-3-2-1’ mindfulness trick can help “pull us out of anxious worry or rumination” and “grounds us in the present”.

“Essentially, you tick your way through your five senses and name 5 things you can see at this very moment, 4 things you can hear, 3 things you can feel (like your feet in your shoes, your bum on a chair), 2 things you can smell, and one thing you can taste, even if it’s just the inside of your mouth or a sip of cold water.”

The best bit? “This can be done quickly and inconspicuously,” says Hendriksen.


So why is this simple trick so effective? “Bringing our attention to our senses grounds us in the present and counting the items interrupts the spinning of our thoughts.

‘From there, you can gather your wits and use some of the other tools, like turning your attention inside out or dropping your safety behaviours,” explains Hendriksen.

We’ll definitely be giving a try next time we’re feeling a little overwhelmed.

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