5-4-3-2-1 TECHNIQUE

We have all heard that meditation can relax and center ourselves, but have you heard of mindfulness?

When stress and anxiety interrupts our daily life and threatens our peace of mind, it can be difficult to stay in the moment. Anxiety can often be the biggest obstacles when it comes to important moments in our lives.

The “5-4-3-2-1” tool is a simple and effective method for regaining control of your mind when anxiety takes over and it consists of more than just counting backwards from 5.


This technique will take you through your 5 senses to help remind you of the present. This is an extremely calming technique that can help you get through stressful situations. Bringing our attention to our senses will ground us in the present and counting the items interrupts the spinning of our thoughts.

Start by taking a long, slow deep breath to begin. Deep, slow, and long breaths are your first priority for achieving a calm state before proceeding to the following steps. If you need to do this for a few minutes, give yourself the time.

  1. SEE: Look for 5 things that you can see around you. Some examples: a pen, a picture on the wall, your phone, light switch, or a chair.
  2. TOUCH: Find 4 things that you can touch around you. Some examples: your hair, the table, a water bottle, your pet, or the floor beneath you.
  3. HEAR: Listen for 3 things you can hear around you. Some examples: a clock ticking, a bird chirping, traffic going by, people chatting, or the rain falling outside.
  4. SMELL: Acknowledge 2 things around you that you can smell. Some examples: fresh cut grass, your perfume or deodorant, coffee, or burnt toast.
  5. TASTE OR SOMETHING YOU ADMIRE ABOUT YOURSELF: Taste can be a hard one for some people so I like to switch this one out for something that you love about yourself. So, you can either acknowledge one thing that you can taste or “dig deep” and give your self a compliment. Some examples of taste: your toothpaste, a lemon, chocolate, gum, or salt.

End this exercise with a long, deep breath.

With these simple steps, you should now be able to focus on the moment. Focusing on your senses will help you be more mindful, and as a result, you can ease your anxiety and feel more in control.