RIght here, right now 5,4,3,2,1

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Sometimes our feelings and our emotions can seem overbearing, overwhelming, or we simply find ourselves constantly existing in the future (preoccupied and stressing over potentially imaginary scenarios which feel so real!). 

A very simple grounding technique that can be used anywhere, and help to reduce our anxiety, and allow our minds to disengage from the preoccupation and come into the moment here and now is the “Right Here, Right Now Technique” also known as the “54321 Coping Skill”

This skill 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 the breath! Like in the 7/11 technique, slow, deep, long breathing can help maintain a sense of calm or help return to a calmer state. 

Begin with using the 7/11 technique than then after you are able to find your breath, go through the numbers in order to help ground yourself in present thinking through external factors:

5: Acknowledge FIVE things you see around you. Maybe it is a bird, maybe it is pencil, maybe it is a spot on the ceiling or a shadow on the floor, however big or small, state 5 things you see, say them out loud or to yourself under your breath, or in your head. Then move onto the next step…

4: Acknowledge FOUR things you can touch around you. Maybe this is your hair, hands, ground, grass, pillow, table leg, the chair your sitting on, whatever it may be, list out the 4 things you can feel. Pay attention to how they feel, and allow yourself to get interested for a moment in the difference between each of them, cold, hot, smooth, rough. Say these four things out loud to yourself, or under your breath, or in your head and now move onto the next step…

3: Acknowledge THREE things you hear. Its really important this stays external. Do not. Focus on your thoughts. Focus on the world outside of your head, maybe you can hear a clock, a car, a dog barking in a garden a few doors down. Maybe you can hear your tummy rumbling… internal noises that make external sounds can count, what ever is audible in the moment is what you list too at this point. Then move onto the next step…

2: Acknowledge TWO things you can smell: This one might be hard if you are not in a stimulating environment, if you cannot automatically sniff something out, 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 leaning over and smelling a pillow on the couch, or a pencil. Whatever it may be, take in the smells around you. Think on the smell, notice how you react to it, notice the difference between the two smells. Then move onto the next (and final) step…

1: Acknowledge ONE thing you can taste. What does the inside of your mouth taste like, try using a stick of gum, coffee, letting a chocolate melt in your mouth, noticing the texture changing or the sandwich from lunch? Focus on your mouth as the last step and take in what you can taste. If taste isn't something thats easy for you, then you can always go back to taking one round of 7/11 breathing. Or focus your thoughts on a positive phrase of self affirmation. 

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 some therapies such as 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 it is important to stay present and focused to help find relief. Hopefully this technique can help you or someone you know stay present, grounded, and healthy.