Have you ever heard that expression “you can’t see the forest for the trees?” It’s natural to sometimes feel overwhelmed, or to have trouble seeing the bigger picture of where you’re at in life when you’re focusing on the details of a problem, or problems you’re experiencing. It’s tough to take control of a situation, relationship or challenge and find your way to a resolution, when your mind is overrun with details, memories and things to feel anxious about.
Next time you feel like this, we’d like you to try the ‘5-4-3-2-1’ Grounding Exercise:
This technique can help you draw your focus away from individual details, relax, and re-focus your attention on the present.
1. Describe 5 things you see in the room. Say them outloud, or write them down.
2. Name 4 things you can feel (such as “my shoes on my feet” or “my hands on my desk”)
3. Name 3 things you can currently hear (“birds outside” or “keyboard keys clicking”)
4. Name 2 things you can smell right now (or 2 smells that you enjoy, or have positive associations with)
5. Name 1 good thing about yourself
Repeat these steps if needed. You might find the 5-4-3-2-1 exercise is helpful in falling asleep, when dealing with cravings or for relaxing at the end of the work day.