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Live Well: Keeping Calm

December 22, 2023


It’s the holiday season! Whether you’re celebrating with family, or on your own and just trying to cope, it can be a time of anxiety. If you find your stress becomes overwhelming, taking two minutes to do a grounding exercise can help you keep on an even keel.

The 54321 Grounding Technique is one of the most popular, because it’s not only effective, it’s something that almost anyone can do anywhere.

Take a moment to focus your senses and notice:

  • 5 things you can see—they could be as far as the sky, or as near as your own hand;
  • 4 things you can feel—reach out and touch something, whether it’s the sleeve of your own sweater, the chair you’re sitting on, or the bark of a tree;
  • 3 things you can hear—the wind in the trees, the radio in the next room, even your own breath or heartbeat;
  • 2 things you can smell—this can be a tricky one, but focusing on trying to distinguish different smells in the air around you can be part of the exercise; and
  • 1 Thing you can taste—this might be the remnants of coffee you drank earlier! Or you could get yourself a small candy or lozenge, or even a glass of water.

Describe each item as you find it; say it out loud if you can.

This very simple technique can help get you out of worry mode, and back into the world around you.

Need more support? Reach out to your Member and Family Assistance Program for direct one-on-one support, as well as a library of online resources.