How to calm anxiety down. The 3-3-3 method

How to calm anxiety down. The 3-3-3 method.

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Truth bomb: Anxiety can’t thrive when we focus on the present. 

If you’ve spent a good portion of your life feeling anxious, describe yourself as a natural born worrier or have been feeling more anxious of late, please know this.

(a) You’re not alone in feeling this way

(b) You absolutely can change your mindset from I’m an anxious person to I’m a person who sometimes has anxious thoughts

(c) You can learn how to calm anxiety down even when you’re in the thick of an anxious episode

 

After struggling with anxiety for years I genuinely believed that this was simply how I was made.

That I was destined to  forever live my life imaging the worst case scenario, to not take the chance because I was too scared and generally behave like a fun sponge.

*Fun sponge – literally sucking the life out of anything fun.

It was only when I started working on myself, investing in my own personal development and using the tools that I’m going to share with you today, that my life actually  started to change.

The first and most simple tool I began using was the 3-3-3 method.

It’s an effective but straightforward exercise that is a  great starting point when you’re beginning to learn how to calm anxiety down.

This is a tool I would use often a number of years ago when I worked in a stressful job and 9 times out of 10 it would make me feel more in control of whatever situation I found myself in. 

 

The 3-3-3 Method

As I mentioned in the opening – Anxiety can’t thrive when we focus on the Present.

The 3-3-3 method aims to help you do just that. To focus on the present and what’s going on around you in that very moment.

When you feel anxious or overwhelmed you might experience one or all of the following symptoms

  • A racing mind

  • Tight feeling in your chest

  • Quicker breathing

  • Difficulty concentrating

  • Restlessness /Agitation

Practicing the 3-3-3 method is one of the simplest ways to ‘get out of your head’ and back to reality where you are in control.

Practicing the 3-3-3 Method

Step 1. Look around you, wherever  you are, and list 3 things that you can see. It can be anything from a chair to a pen to a flower, just really pay attention, really notice 3 objects/things in your vicinity.

Really take them in, their colour, shape, if you’ve ever been aware of it before. Take a couple of moments to do this before moving onto the next step.

I find this step brings your attention away from the racing thoughts and the what-ifs in your mind and back into your surroundings.

If it’s your surroundings that’s causing you anxiety, say where you work for example, step away for a couple of moments and do this exercise to remind you that no matter what, you are always in control.

 

Step 2. Focus on the 3 sounds you can hear around you. Traffic, birds, a computer tapping, children playing, once again whatever is in your vicinity. 

For the last sound I want you to listen for the furthest away sound you can hear. You may need to really concentrate on this and close your eyes if you can. 

I find this step has the power to literally stop time (particularly if you feel like time is absolutely flying by)

You more often than not will hear sounds that you weren’t aware were there mere moments ago . I believe this step has the power to install a sense of calm if you’ve previously felt wound up.

Step 3. Consciously move 3 parts of your body. Your movements can be as subtle or as grand as you like (depending on where you are of course!)

Wiggle your toes, rotate your ankle, flex your fingers, stretch you arms over your head. Once again bringing awareness to what you’re doing right now in the moment and away from your racing thoughts.

This step always reminds me that yes, I am in control of my body ( and plenty of other things in my life too!). It also reminds me that although I can’t control what happens to me, I can control my reaction to it. 

You can repeat the 3 steps once or more than once and for as long as you like.

I find taking 3-5 minutes going through the 3 step can really help both myself and my clients if they are feeling particularly wound up or anxious about something. 

As I always say to all of my clients, it’s one thing learning about something that can help you and another to actually put into practice what you need to do.

Thank you for reading this article and I hope the 3-3-3 method will help you during moments of anxiety or stress.

Remember though , it’s all about taking action and putting into practice the tools that you learn.

That’s the only way you will end up actually changing your life. So, best of luck implanting this fabulous and useful tool.

P.S If you want some extra help and would like to work with me on a 1:2:1 basis you can find out more by visiting here or by emailing jayann@jayannwalsh.com