How to Manage Anxiety - Part 3
In Part 2 of this series on How to Manage Anxiety ,
we talked about Positive Visualization.
Drop a comment below to share how the exercises helped you or what you noticed when you tried them.
Over the next few weeks, I'm going to share some tips on how to manage anxiety, especially for those who are considered High Performers. Maybe you're in a Leadership or Executive Level and you're excelling at your job, but deep inside, every day is a battle within yourself.
Together, we'll look at some strategies you can use in the moment of anxiety, that no one else even has to be aware of. Because, let's face it, you don't want everyone else to know just how anxious and uncertain you're feeling.
The next tool is the 5-4-3-2-1 Exercise. I know you're probably asking, "What the heck is that?"
It's sort of a way we can trick our mind or distract it from the thoughts that are causing anxiety. Again, these are things you can do without anyone even knowing.
Let me tell you how it works.
Name 5 Things You Can See
Look around you and name 5 things you can see. Pay attention to things big and small. Notice things that you might not otherwise pay attention to. See if you can find things that you normally barely notice are there.
Name 4 Things You Can Hear
This sometimes takes a little more concentration. But that's fine, because the more you have to concentrate, the more you distract yourself from the anxiety. Notice sounds you might not usually be aware of. Pay attention to the smallest of noise, such as the whirr of the ceiling fan, the birds chirping, or the washing machine. Notice the larger noises, such as the garbage truck outside or the loud music your neighbor is playing. Focus on all the sounds around you. You might be surprised by what you hear when you're paying attention.
Name 3 Things You Can Smell
Again, this may take a little more focus. Pay attention to what's around you. Can you smell the paper of your notebook, your perfume or cologne, or the meal that cooking in the oven? Do you smell flowers, freshly mowed grass, or rain? Focus on finding 3 things you can smell.
Name 2 Things You Taste
This may require you to get up from your seat. But find 2 things you can taste. Maybe it's your morning coffee. But don't just name the coffee; take a sip. Swirl it in your mouth, consider all the different flavor profiles it has. Is it hot? Is it cold? Or maybe you can taste the snack you just ate. Think about the taste, the texture. Was it crunchy or soft?
Not only does this distract your mind, but it may also cause you to get up and move your body a bit, to find something to taste. Movement is good for improving mood and relieving stress.
Name 1 Thing You Can Touch
This is the easiest one, because there's always something nearby that you can touch. But I challenge you to find something that you don't always touch. Or something that brings you joy. Go ahead, touch it! I know for me, in my home office, one of my cats usually comes in an curls up near me. I've gotten used to him being there, so I often don't even think about it. But for this exercise, I might choose to pet him. But find 1 thing you can touch, and touch it.
But don't stop there. Hold it in your hard. Think about how it feels. Is it soft or hard? Is it cold? Is it smooth or rough. Similar to the things you can taste, take some time to really examine the item.
By the time you get through this exercise, your mind is likely distracted from the original thought that was causing anxiety. Your pulse has slowed. Your heartrate has gone back to normal.
And it was pretty simple, right?
You can do this at home, at work, or even in the car (within reason). You can do this before going into a big meeting or giving a stressful presentation, or going in for a big interview.
I know it sounds kind of weird and "woo woo", but trust me, it works. I had a coach teach it to me a few years back, and it was helpful.
If you'd like to see Tip #1 - click here.
If you'd like to see Tip #2 - click here.
If you'd like more tips, or more individualized help on dealing with anxiety, please check out my website and schedule a free 15 minute consultation.