I've stated this many times, I didn't know what anxiety truly was until I became a mother. I still wouldn't even describe myself as an overly anxious person, but without me knowing and when I least expect, it creeps in and settles in my thoughts, actions and my behaviour. One thing I know is that anxiety can be very debilitating for some with a full host of symptoms (which I won’t go into here) and for others very insidious, manifesting in subtle ways like lack of sleep or inability to concentrate. The one thing that unites the two extremes of presentation though is the fact that anxiety lives in the future; full of thoughts, worries and concerns grappled by ‘what ifs?’
Over the years I’ve learnt many ways to approach anxiety and one of my favourites is the 54321 grounding method. The importance of this method is that it pulls you into the right now, into the present and it stops you concentrating on the things outside of your control.
The 54321 method is so simple yet so effective and it uses your body and senses to ground you back to earth. So how do you do it?
Firstly stay still and concentrate on your breathing and how it connects with your body. Take nice slow deep breaths in and out until you feel more at peace.
Then focus on:
5 things you can see
4 things you can feel
3 things you can hear
2 things you can smell
1 thing you can taste
Take time to really focus on the detail of what is happening around you. Give each object/ thing your full attention. Only move on when you feel you have given what you are concentrating on its full appreciation.
Take time to repeat this exercise as many times as you require. I love to carry out this exercise during breastfeeding because there are so many things that I can see, hear, smell and feel that are connected to the baby that gives me an overwhelming sense of calm.
Try it and let us know how it worked out for you.