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  • Writer's pictureLisa Jones

I need to calm down


Sometimes we feel ourselves panicking or getting really anxious - this is our body's way of telling us we are in danger. Of course, we might not be in mortal danger, it might be triggered by a memory, a difficult situation or an encounter with a person we don't like. We might be about to take a driving test, an exam or a go to a job interview.

In these situations we want to calm down and ground ourselves to come back to the present moment and give ourselves some time to think clearly about what we need to do. A useful tool for this is the 5-4-3-2-1 technique.

The first step is to become aware of your breath. Breathe deeply and slowly, counting 5 seconds in and 5 seconds out. Feel the breath come into your belly, not your chest. Do this until you feel slightly calmer and then do this simple exercise.


Look around for 5 things you can see around you. Say the items out loud (you can whisper to yourself).

Say 4 things you can feel, it might be your feet on the ground, the cool breeze or something in your pocket.

Say 3 things you can hear, for example, traffic, birds singing or the whir of your computer fan.

Say 2 things you can smell. At this moment I can smell my coffee and perfume on my wrist.

Finally say something you can taste - you don't have to eating something at this moment but there will be something to taste in your mouth that you can describe.

Remember to choose things that are around you in the present moment and to say the items out loud. Once you have reached the end you can take a few more deep breaths and notice if you feel calmer and able think a bit clearer.


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