By: Azlen Theobald, Neuropsychology Post-Doctoral Fellow


Anxiety is something most of us have experienced at least once in our life. Worrying about our children, our jobs, and the current Coronavirus situation are just some of the situations that can cause even the calmest person to feel a little stressed. This five-step exercise can be very helpful during periods of anxiety or panic by helping to ground you in the present when your mind is bouncing around between various anxious thoughts.

Before starting this exercise, pay attention to your breathing. Slow, deep, long breaths can help you maintain a sense of calm or help you return to a calmer state. Once you find your breath, go through the following steps below to help ground yourself:


5: Acknowledge FIVE things you see around you. It could be a picture, a spot on the ceiling, a lamp, anything in your surroundings.
4: Acknowledge FOUR things you can touch around you. It could be the wall, a pillow, or the ground under your feet.
3: Acknowledge THREE things you hear. This could be any external sound. Birds are chirping this time of year! If you can hear your kids playing, that counts too! Focus on things you can hear outside of your body.
2: Acknowledge TWO things you can smell. Maybe you are in your newly-configured home office space and smell paper, or maybe you are in your bedroom and smell soap. If you need to, step outside to find a scent like the growing grass or the fresh air, or rain.
1: Acknowledge ONE thing you can taste. What does the inside of your mouth taste like—gum, coffee, or your lunch?


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