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5-4-3-2-1 Meditation

February 03, 2024

5-4-3-2-1 Meditation

Now that the holidays are over, the busy pace of life picks back up. It is so easy to get swept up in the whirlwind of busyness and lose ourselves in the process. I’m sure I’m not the only one guilty of letting myself slide to last place on the priority list. This became status quo when my kids were young, and I neglected myself to the point that my physical and mental health and well-being started to tank. I met my breaking point on more than a few occasions, so I finally decided to make some big life changes. It took quite a while to realize that this was the best thing that could have happened since it set me on my path to wellness through yoga, meditation and spiritual studies; an ongoing process that is steadily allowing me to feel happier and more at ease in my body. It’s true, I’m no good to anyone if I don’t take care of myself. So now, I watch for early signs of overwhelm, stress and/or anxiety.
It is important to know that stress is normal. Stress motivates us to react to events in our environment. We need to be able to act in new or challenging situations. There is a natural tendency to see stress as negative but good stress (eustress) also exists. For example, eustress can keep us sharp when meeting new people or focused and alert when driving through a new neighborhood or city. Cumulative experience meeting and managing challenging situations can build our confidence and resiliency that will be beneficial for future situations.

You might already be aware of your own physical and emotional signs of overload. Personally, sleepless nights and headaches or migraines are very typical if I’m dealing with a prolonged period of good or bad stress.

Some body-mind signals you might experience:
Emotional outbursts
Stomach and/or digestive issues
Detachment from people
Decreased motivation for preferred activities
Disordered sleep patterns

The more adept we become at self-monitoring stress levels the better chance we have of decreasing stress levels before it becomes chronic. There are many mind-body soothing techniques available that can help bring relief during periods of stress such as yoga, breathwork and meditation, going for a walk, reading a book, or taking a bath. There are many options, so the key is experimenting to see what works best for you.

Engaging your five senses is a very beneficial technique to reduce stress and anxiety. It brings you right into the present moment and calms the nervous system. This 5-4-3-2-1 Meditation only takes a few minutes and can be practiced on the spot, as soon as you find yourself in a moment of overwhelm:

5-4-3-2-1 Meditation
Close your eyes
Take two deep breaths in and out, keeping your exhale as slow and even.
5 – Name five things you can see
4 – Name four things you can touch
3 – Name three things you can hear
2 - Name three things you can smell
1 – Name 1 one thing you can taste
Repeat two deep breaths in and out, with an extended exhale.

By taking time to connect, ground and center our senses, we can establish a sense of security, calm and mental clarity. Building a solid foundation helps us build greater resiliency to meet and recover from life’s challenges, big and small.