As fear challenges our state of mind, it can be impossible to stay in the moment of now.

Yet one mindfulness technique used by several psychologists has the ability to liberate our minds from fear by grounding us in the moment.

The 5-4-3-2-1 technique is an easy and powerful way to reclaim control over the mind as fear tries to take over-and it consists of more than a countdown from five. Instead the hack allows us to get back to the present by depending on our five senses—sight, sound, touch, smell, and taste.


Pay attention to the breathing before beginning this workout. Slow, steady long breaths will help you retain a sense of equilibrium, or help you to return to a calmer state.

When you follow your breath, go through the following steps to help you ground yourself:

5 See – things you see around you. It could be a pen, a spot on the ceiling, anything in your surroundings.

4 Touch – things you can touch around you. It could be your hair, a pillow, or the ground under your feet.

3 Smell – things you hear. This could be any external sound. If you can hear your belly rumbling that counts! Focus on things you can hear outside of your body.

2 Hear – things you can smell. Maybe you are in your office and smell pencil, or maybe you are in your bedroom and smell a pillow. If you need to take a brief walk to find a scent you could smell soap in your bathroom, or nature outside.

1 Taste – thing you can taste. What does the inside of your mouth taste like—gum, coffee, or the sandwich from lunch?

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