The 5-4-3-2-1 Grounding Technique to Deal With Your Anxiety

Last Update on August 12, 2021 : Published on August 10, 2021
5-4-3-2-1 Grounding Technique

We all can relate with the fact that we tend to face anxiety every now and then. Deadline is approaching anxiety, swipes in, have an important exam or interview? anxiety says a hi; have a family event coming up? Anxiety will accompany.

Basically, anxiety is a response to our stressful situations which might hamper our performance and leave a detrimental impact on our mental health. Luckily there are various tools, therapies, and medications available that can aid in controlling anxiety.

One such tool of mindfulness that is being talked about by health practitioners and those belonging to the field of mental health is: 5-4-3-2-1, a grounding technique to deal with anxiety.

In today’s time, the tools of mindfulness and its benefits are largely being studied and implemented to bring a shift in the lives of people, and this tool is one of them.

This mindfulness tool of controlling anxiety can help you to bid anxiety-related thoughts, feeling, and actions adieu. All you have to do is…

 5-4-3-2-1 and Whoosh anxiety is gone!

Now if you are wondering how counting 5-4-3-2-1 helps me reduce my anxiety, let us clear it for you that this 5-4-3-2-1 is a process of activating your 5 senses. This mindfulness trick is proven to reduce your anxiety.

So, let us learn about this 5-4-3-2-1 mindfulness tool.

To begin with, let us set our bodies ready for the process

Deep Breathing: Breath in for 5 seconds, hold the breath for another 5 seconds and breathe out for 5 seconds.

Now that you are cool down, and things have slowed down within you, time to unroll the 5-4-3-2-1 mindfulness tool of controlling anxiety.

How To Practice With The 54321 Grounding Exercise

5 Things you can SEE

Acknowledge the 5 things that you can see around you. Irrespective of the shape, size, and location just look around and recognize 5 things that catch your attention. Be it a spoon, clouds moving up in the sky, or a bug.

4 Things you can TOUCH

Acknowledge the 4 things in your surrounding that you can touch. Again, irrespective of the texture or looks of it just touch the 4 things around you. It can be your diary, your pet, the floor beneath your feet or even your hair.

3 Things you can HEAR

Acknowledge the 3 things around you that you can hear. Basically, focus on three voices or tunes that are audible to you. Maybe it is the sound of people talking, walking, their phone ringing, birds chirping etc. here, you can also try and focus on more ambient sounds like-ticking of the clock, hum of the fan and many more. Remember you name them and say them out loud.

2 Things you can SMELL

Acknowledge two things in your current environment that you can smell. The smell of your pen, or hair, the smell of the plant near you, the smell of the fragrance that you are wearing today, once you recognize these smells say it out. If you don’t have anything around you to smell then just close your eyes, remind yourself about two of your favorite smells, think about them and say their name.

1 Thing you can TASTE

Acknowledge 1 thing that you can taste. This one doesn’t really ask to find something to eat (but you have anything to nibble on, go for it and acknowledge its taste- bitter, sweet, berry, whatever it is). It can aftertaste of gum, coffee, toothpaste or anything else that you can sense. But, if you can’t taste anything, say your favorite thing to taste be it French fries or your favorite childhood candy.

End the process with a deep breath again following the 5-5-5 rule.

Breathe in for 5 seconds, hold it for another 5 seconds, finally breathe it out for 5 seconds.

Feeling better?

This mindfulness trick works by allowing you to be in the present. It makes you realize that you are more powerful and calmer in the current moment, which in turn holds the anticipatory ideas and helps you in dealing with the anxiety.

Benefits of 54321 Grounding Technique

If you are thinking that the 54321 grounding technique is only for relieving anxiety, then let me tell you that there are other benefits too. This technique of sensory awareness opens room for other good things like:

  • It helps you feel relaxed.
  • It elevates your mood.
  • Your emotional stress is reduced.
  • It clears the chaos in the head, allowing you to think clearly.
  • Apart from clearing the anxious thoughts from your mind, the 54321 technique is a great way to release muscle tension caused by anxiety or stress.
  • This technique makes a person mindful, allowing him to stop swinging in the future or dwelling in the past.
  • The body-related pain and muscle stiffness are also reduced with the regular practice of 54321 grounding techniques.
  • When you are in the moment, it increases your concentration and focuses in your life.
  • You act more rationally and sensibly even in stressful situations.
  • Your mental and emotional energy is recharged with the help of this mindfulness technique.
  • It offers physical relief in the form of the improved immune system, sleep, and controlled blood pressure.
  • Overall, it makes you feel calm and composed.

Examples of Sensory Grounding by using 54321 Technique

The best part of 54321 grounding technique is that you can use it anytime and anywhere. Below we have shared some situational examples with you where you might need sensory grounding and 54321 grounding technique will just work right for you.

Situation 1: Traveling in Public Transport

People feel anxious when they are travelling and surrounded by people. When the anxiety starts to kick in you can practice 54321 grounding technique.

5 Things I can See: Peep outside the window or simply run your eyes, you are sure to find a lot of things to look at like

  1. Seat
  2. Window
  3. Gate
  4. People
  5. The way (road) or tree outside

4 Things I can Touch: Look around you will be able to find things that you can touch for sensory grounding.

  1. The seat
  2. The rods/windows
  3. Your bag
  4. Your phone/book

3 Things I can Hear: While traveling on public transport you are sure to hear a lot of sounds.

  1. People talking among themselves
  2. The transport honking
  3. The cars and other vehicles passing by

2 Things I can Smell: This can be tricky, but you can always use your imagination here.

  1. The nice fragrance someone is carrying
  2. Your own body fragrance or close your eyes and imagine sniffing your favorite smell.

1 Thing I can Taste: It is always suggested to keep a candy handy in your pocket, it gives you a quick energy boost but also helps in sensory grounding.

Pick out candy from your bag and savor its taste. Or just close your eyes and think of the last thing you ate/ your favorite thing that you eat. Now imagine the taste of it on your tongue and savor it.

Situation 2: Workplace

A major source of stress in the life of many is the workplace. The reason is ont only work pressure but also anxiety-provoking stimuli that one is exposed to. With the deadline approaching to presenting at the meeting, it requires a person to stay calm in the moment.

5 Things I can See: Hmm, look around and you will be able to find things that you can see. Name them out aloud.

  1. Your desk
  2. The system
  3. The chair
  4. The door
  5. The fan/AC/ceiling

4 Things I can Touch: You can find a few options to touch at your place for sensory grounding.

  1. Your desktop
  2. The pen/pencil/stationery
  3. The file/documents on the table
  4. A planter (don’t have a positive plant on your table yet, add it now).

3 Things I can Hear: Interestingly, you will find a lot of sounds in an office setting.

  1. The typing noise
  2. Colleagues talking among themselves
  3. People walking around/ fan or AC noise/ Pen clicking

2 Things I can Smell: You can smell the following things in your office setting for the 54321 grounding exercise.

  1. Your own perfume or lotion
  2. A fragrant pan/ coffee brewing/ canteen food

1 Thing I can Taste: We recommend you to keep candy handy. Or enjoy the taste of the last thing that you ate on your tongue.

Similarly, you can apply

Now you know exactly how to use your 5 senses mindfully and combat anxiety, just remember

Deep Breath 5-4-3-2-1 Deep Breath

Good luck and have a good day…

Next Read:

Best Grounding Techniques For You To Feel In Control Of Reality

Most Effective Manifestation Techniques For You To Attract Positivity

7 Types of Rest That You and Your Body Needs Right Now

About The Author

Anjali Singh
Anjali Singh

Anjali Singh is a content curator in the field of Mental Health. She is currently done Ph.D. in Psychology. Her aim is to light up the world with positive vibes through her words, her idea of life is ‘Grow through what you go through’. Apart from this, she is a big-time pet lover.


  1. Simantha

    WOW! Nicely presented.. I am definitely going to use this technique during interviews..

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