One Simple Technique to Alleviate Stress
“Mindfulness isn't difficult. We just need to remember to do it.” - Sharon Salzberg
These times are stressful for a lot of us. As I was writing this I began to list the many ways stress shows up, but that in itself felt stressful, so I decided not to head in that direction.
Instead I thought I’d give you one simple technique I learned from WW I’ve been using with success. It relates to mindfulness, which in my mind keeps bringing me to the importance of staying present, being in the moment, being here now.
When we’re feeling stress, we are either worrying about the uncertain future or reflecting on the past with regrets. When we’re in either of those places, our body jumps into that ‘fight or flight’ mode and causes our body to bring the future or past into present which causes a physical reaction of our heart rate and breathing to quicken and our blood pressure to rise.
I have learned this one simple technique that helps to calm me and bring me into the present.
It's called the 5-4-3-2-1 technique. It taps into the space I need to pull me out of the future past and bring me into the present moment. Breathe deeply throughout these steps.
- Take a deep breath. Look around your space and name five things you see while you pause briefly on each thing./
- Breathe deeply. Focus on four things you can feel on/in your body. Perhaps it’s the sensation of sitting in your chair or the touch of an item close to you.
- Close your eyes. Listen. What sounds do you hear? Identify three. Is it the sound of children playing outside or a door slamming in your home? Keep breathing deeply.
- Are there two items you can smell? It could be the flowers on your desk or the smell of a burning candle.
- Notice one thing you can taste. Take a sip of a drink you have close by or think back to the last thing you tasted.
Take one last deep breath. Check in with yourself.
What is a de-stressing technique you use?