The other day I had an experience where I felt grateful and relaxed in the present moment, amidst anxiety and stress. A while ago, I listened to a Calm meditation that used our 5 senses to feel into the moment. This has always stuck with me when I’ve wanted to really consume my surroundings instead of passing by life too quick. I soon found there was something called the 54321 Grounding Technique which emulated my practice. And so, here is my a small part of my journey that has led me to LOVING this technique!
Last year I quit what had become a toxic work environment. It was a big step but I’ve experienced much needed self-care and relaxation in the last 3 months since doing so. Now the time has come to re-enter the workforce, applying for jobs and heading to interviews. I’m quite the perfectionist, with a fear of failing and a need to over-prepare before I even apply for a job.
I’ve just finished reading a manifestation book that explained how good things happen when we don’t attach ourselves so much to it. It makes sense, because if we don’t get something that we weren’t fussed over, then we won’t feel so disappointed than if we had obsessed over it. This is something I’m trying to work on in many aspects of my life. To not base my self-worth on my successes or failures, but rather being proud so long as I stay authentic, try my best, and learn from experiences.
So over the weekend I had accumulated stress because I’ve been stuck. Not ‘prepared’ enough for job interviews so I haven’t applied for the jobs. And without any action, we may find ourselves stuck in certain situations. This can have a flow on effect too. Without applying for a job I have no chance at getting a job, and therefore no flow of income which will impact my upcoming vacation towards the end of the year. Boom! Now that is what it feels like to be stuck!
*Please note I have since got the ball rolling by applying for jobs! Here’s to getting out of our comfort zones! However, for the purpose of this discussion, let’s get back into the grounding technique!
What is the 54321 grounding technique?
The 54321 grounding technique can be widely researched via many sources, leading to the same conclusion. Simply put, the University of Rochester Medical Centre explains the technique as noticing 5 things you can see, 4 things you can touch, 3 things you can hear, 2 smells, and 1 taste. They note that this exercise can be helpful during any times of stress or anxiety, for example feeling overwhelmed or before presenting a speech. It really is this simple!
My experience this past weekend with the grounding technique
As I mentioned earlier, this weekend I felt stressed because I was stuck. The stress created low vibrations in more areas of my life. I went to my mum’s place because mother’s can fix anything, right? I always take comfort in her positive energy and quality guidance. And I already felt better being in a new space.
In the evening as the sun set, my mum took a shower and I poured myself a glass of red wine. I’ll admit, I love red wine! And in my own home I hadn’t had a glass in weeks. Therefore I sat outside with my wine and without my phone. It was a humid evening but a breeze was brewing. In that moment, I already felt calm. I went from being consumed by thoughts, actions and technologies, to being alone, quiet, and still.
And so, from my learnings in the Calm app, I tried using my 5 senses to really bask in this moment of peacefulness (aka the 54321 Grounding Technique). I kept with the themes that made me happy in that moment – wine and nature.
5 things I could SEE:
I could see: my red wine in a glass, pink clouds as the sun set on this hot day, an outdoor lantern as part of my mum’s soon-to-be mini zen garden, vibrant green leaves on the trees, and nice flowers blooming in hanging pots.
4 things I could TOUCH:
For the sake of my Calm app, I focused on feelings too. Therefore, I felt: the breeze brushing against my skin, my feet firmly planted on the earth beneath me, the flowers in the hanging pots next to me, and my body being supported by the chair I was sitting in.
3 things I could HEAR:
The sound of birds chirping near and far, the leaves rustling against each other, and the water from the shower in the distance splashing against the ground.
2 things I could SMELL:
I brought my wine glass towards my nose and relished in the scent of this red wine. I also inhaled and exhaled the fresh outdoor air.
1 thing I could TASTE:
Wine, oh sweet wine!
Completing the 54321 Grounding Technique relieved some of my stress as nothing else mattered in that moment. I was grateful for my situation getting to enjoy the little things and the little luxuries that other people may not have. We all have our own lives with different experiences, but taking some time to feel into moments can help calm any anxious thoughts, or just bask in the present.