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  • Writer's pictureHoweHolistic

EASY TO FOLLOW - Grounding technique for when you are struggling with panic attacks, feeling overwhelmed or anxious.

The 5-4-3-2-1 Mindfulness Tool is a grounding technique widely used in counselling to help encourage the person using it to feel more in control of their emotions and bring them back into the room as it were or reality. It is typically used for PTSD, panic attacks, or feeling overwhelmed/ anxious. 

The purpose of this specific tool is that it encourages the person to use all 5 of their senses and have them think and focus on the things they can see, touch, hear, smell, and taste. Whilst doing so, it is important to have them breathe deeply in through their nose and out through their mouth to help encourage the regulation of their heart rate. This grounding technique is encouraged as it can be explained quickly and is a simple and easy guide to follow to help people in crisis mode come down to a calmer state of mind. Afterwards, a counsellor can begin exploring further feelings together or finding the root cause of the problem. 

The purpose of grounding techniques is to allow a person to step away from traumatic, negative thoughts or flashbacks they may be experiencing at that moment. Grounding techniques like this can help decrease the intensity of these feelings to help encourage a place of calm through accessing their five senses. Using this focus of the senses can help encourage the person to detach from the past, especially clients who have anxiety and PTSD by focusing on the present surroundings it enables the person to be more aware of their safe reality. 

This grounding exercise is most likely linked to CBT as it is a short-term quick-fix technique. It relates to cognitive restructuring or reframing when looking at CBT and finding a place of calm from focusing on minor details and letting them overtake you as this holts that process. It is also a relaxation and stress reduction technique, again a highly used form of CBT, as it encourages deep breathing exercises and replaces imagery in the mind a person may be seeing through their PTSD. Within CBT, it is also encouraged to set SMART goals in which this type of grounding exercise can be as it is specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and time-limited, which this technique can easily highlight.

S - Simple to follow.

M - Has five specific goals, and you know it’s finished once they are completed.

A - Easily achievable as you can do it from anywhere.

R - Realistic to achieve. 

T - 5-10 Minutes.

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