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Inside: Learn the 54321 grounding exercise to calm down quickly, relieve anxious thoughts, and tune into the present moment. The 54321 method is great for kids and adults.
Stress and anxiety have skyrocketed in recent years — in kids and adults.
It’s crucial we discover strategies to cope, to become more resilient, and manage these uncomfortable feelings.
This five-step 54321 grounding exercise is favorited by many therapists and will help you (and your kids) during periods of stress, anxiety, or even when you just need a little break.
Below, we will walk you through specific instructions to complete this simple but extremely effective 54321 grounding exercise.
What is the 54321 Grounding Technique?
The 54321 grounding exercise a common sensory awareness mindfulness exercise that will snap you into the present moment.
This exercise uses the five senses to bring you into the moment.
Our senses act like an anchor and pull us out of our heads (where our anxious and negative thoughts are multiplying) and help us regain our footing on earth.
Many people find this helpful to relax during difficult moments. It works well for anxiety, cravings, and general relaxation.
54321 Grounding Exercise for Kids
This exercise is fantastic for children!
Anxiety and stress in kids are such a huge problem in our youth (especially screen time addictions).
This 54321 exercise will reduce stress in kids and for younger kids, it’s a super fun game!
Speaking of anxiety in kids, if your kiddo is experiencing high amounts of anxiety or stress, check out our ultimate guide to dealing with anxiety in kids.
Before starting this exercise you need to take a few moments and tune into your breath.
- Focus on taking a single, full breath
- Observe, if you lose focus on that breath
- Refocus, if needed
Breathing is something we unconsciously do all the time, but there can be so many benefits to actually paying attention to your breath.
Go ahead and take a full deep belly breath now.
(Check out ten of the best breathing exercises for kids right here!)
54321 Grounding Exercise Instructions
5: What are FIVE things you SEE?
As you are scanning the room (or perhaps you are outside) be sure to say what you are seeing out loud.
For example, you could say, I see the tree swaying in the wind, or, I see the television.
Take the time to really see what you are looking at. Notice the color, the shape, the consistency. Think about this object and how it helps you in life.
4. What are FOUR things you can TOUCH?
Look around, perhaps even walk around the room and gently slide your hand over objects.
For example, you could say, I can touch this table, or, I can touch the comforter on my bed.
Pay attention to the way objects feel against your hand, the texture of objects, and the temperature.
You could even notice the sensation of the floor underneath you or the air around you.
3. What are THREE things you HEAR?
Tuning in to listen is a great way to really zap you into the present moment.
Listening takes mental focus.
Listen for traffic, children playing, birds chirping, or indoor sounds like a furnace kicking in.
You could also try to notice (without judgment) the space between sounds. It is within this silence and space that the magic happens.
2. What are TWO things you can SMELL?
Get your sniffer going.
Can you smell anything where you are? Perhaps a fresh vase of flowers? The leftover smell from lunch?
If you can’t smell anything noticeable can you name something you’d like to smell, perhaps the smell of fresh-baked cinnamon buns, or an apple pie?
1. What is ONE thing you can TASTE?
This one might seem tricky at first, but perhaps you can taste the orange juice from your breakfast or the toothpaste from brushing your teeth.
If you really can’t taste anything, perhaps think of something you’d love to taste right now and say that out loud.
At the end of the exercise be sure to inhale another deep belly breath.
I like to add another step to this exercise that I find very beneficial: What are 5 things you can feel?
Think emotional feelings, like feeling sad, excited, or happy. Can you try to sit with the feeling for a few minutes? Allow it to just be.
If you like this exercise, you’ve just gotta check out our Amazing Me Growth Mindset Printables…
From the “How Bright Is Your Light?” Growth Mindset Series for Kids, we are proud to introduce our popular Gratitude Kit for Kids. This MAGICAL set includes a gratitude journal and loads of awesome gratitude activities to help your little one be more thankful and happier TODAY! Get ’em here!
This 54321 grounding exercise is one of the many exercises you can do if you are feeling overwhelmed.
Remember no matter where your mind wanders off too, what thoughts you think, the present moment is always here, waiting for you.
The 54321 grounding technique can pull your energy back to the ground, calming you, releasing stress so that you can regroup.
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