There is an exercise that I often like to use with my clients and yoga students. It’s called “Five Things.” The purpose of the exercise is to bring your awareness fully into the now.
This is very useful during times of stress, anxiety, and even panic. If you ever get to a point where you are overwhelmed and things feel like they are swirling around you, then this practice can be especially helpful.
Here’s how it works:
- Plant your feet firmly on the ground. Notice how solidly they are connected to the floor.
- Now, notice 5 things that you notice. The idea is to engage as many of your senses as you can.
- If possible, notice one thing you can see, one thing you can hear, one thing you can smell, one thing you can touch, and perhaps a taste in your mouth.
For example, “I notice a white lamp, I notice the sound of people talking. I notice the smell of food cooking. I notice the texture of the shirt I am wearing. I notice a sweet taste in my mouth.”
You get the point…
This is an exercise designed to ANCHOR you in the present moment, even if everything around you seems to be chaotic or out of control.
This can help greatly to calm anxiety and panic, because (generally) when you are fully present, there is no immediate threat in that moment. It also helps you momentarily let go of all the to-do’s that exist in the future.
When you become aware of your immediate surroundings, you tune into what is real in the moment. Most of what we worry about only exists in the future or the past.
Planting the feet is ALWAYS good practice, no matter what the situation. If you are skipping the rest of the exercise and only doing step #1, you are still going to find some benefit.
However, if you are able to do the “5 Things” exercise in it’s entirety, then you are well on your way to finding relief.
Give the exercise a try and comment below on your experience!