Anxious? Overwhelmed? The Five Senses Countdown for teens

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5-4-3-2-1 to being calm and grounded.

The Five Senses Countdown can help reduce feelings of anxiety and overwhelm. It is a simple and effective mindfulness technique.

Here’s how it works:

Sit quietly, breathe deeply and slowly. Look around you and notice:

5 things you can see: your hand, your friend’s desk, the sky outside, a book in front of you
4 things you can physically feel: rubbing your fingers together, your clothing
3 things you can hear: the teacher speaking, cars outside on the road, your pencil tapping
2 things you can smell: coffee, the lunch room
1 thing you can taste: something you can chew like gum

How it works

The Five Senses Countdown is a mindfulness technique that helps to reduce anxiety and panic symptoms. It involves focusing on your surroundings using your five senses: sight, sound, touch, taste, and smell. By paying attention to the sensory details in your environment, you can shift your focus away from anxious thoughts and into the present moment. This simple exercise can be done anywhere at any time and requires no special equipment or location.

Resiliency and flexibility

Resilient coping strategies for stress are crucial in dealing with complex problems in life. Cognitive strategies can be limited in fight, flight, or freeze mode, making sensory focus a more effective alternative. This technique can help reduce anxiety and panic symptoms. It can be done anywhere, anytime, and requires no special equipment or location. Persistence and practice are essential to master this skill. Doing the countdown with a partner or saying the steps aloud can help improve focus. 

Mindfulness can be an important part of Dialectic Behavioral Therapy – we offer group DBT sessions that can be helpful.

Importance of persistence

Persisting through distractions and practicing The Five Senses Countdown regularly can yield better results. It’s normal to get distracted while doing the skill, but gently bringing attention back to it is key. Practicing with a partner or saying the steps aloud can enhance focus.

Benefits of Using The Five Senses Countdown

Reduction of anxiety and panic symptoms

The Five Senses Countdown can be a helpful tool in reducing uncomfortable symptoms associated with anxiety and panic. By engaging with our senses, we can calm our nervous systems and focus on the present moment.

Do it anywhere, anywhen

The flexibility of The Five Senses Countdown makes it a valuable tool in reducing anxiety and panic symptoms. It can be done anywhere, at any time, and requires no special equipment or location. Additionally, it can be easily adapted to include a partner and can even be said aloud for better focus.

No special equipment or location is needed to practice The Five Senses Countdown. This makes it a convenient tool to use anywhere and anytime, whether you are at home, work, or on the go. All you need is to take a deep breath, look around you, and engage your senses. It’s a simple and effective way to reduce anxiety and panic symptoms.

Saying the steps aloud

Saying the steps aloud can help improve focus and attention. It is a helpful technique for those who struggle with persistent distractions. Simply speak out loud the things you see, hear, feel and taste, and take deep breaths.

If it’s still all too much

While doing this can be a helpful tool for reducing stress and anxiety, it is not a substitute for seeking professional help if needed. It’s important to recognize when additional support is necessary and to seek out the appropriate resources. Contact us today if you’re experiencing persistent feelings of distress – we can help.


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