• Dr Laura Hutchison

54321 Relaxation Technique

So … we're about to enter into the holiday season, which for many also creates a rise in stress and anxiety. Therefore, in the spirit of easing anxiety, I will share ( one of my favorite relaxation techniques.  (Please forgive me that I am not sure who created it … if you know, please let me know!)  I call it “54321” and use it frequently with clients (kids, teens, & adults) all the time.  


It is very helpful when you have racing or repeating thoughts that contribute to raising one’s anxiety.  Use it yourself … or help your child go through the technique … better yet, do it TOGETHER!


Start out by rating your current anxiety/worry/stress level on a scale from 1 to 10 … with 1 being little to none and 10 being the most you can ever imagine.  (rating it now will be helpful in determining whether the technique worked).


Then, simply list in your head, or out loud (when I am doing this with clients I make them say it aloud) …

FIVE things that you SEE.


then, FIVE things you HEAR.  (sometimes this takes awhile, but take your time)


then, FIVE things you FEEL (not emotional feelings, but physical … like I feel my foot in my shoe, etc)


Now, list FOUR things you SEE, FOUR things you HEAR, FOUR things you FEEL


And then list THREE things you SEE, THREE things you HEAR, THREE things you FEEL


And TWO things you SEE, TWO things you HEAR, TWO things you FEEL


ONE thing you SEE, ONE thing you HEAR, ONE thing you FEEL



Take a few deep breaths … and rate your anxiety/worry/fear now.  Did it help?  If not try it again at different times.  Sometimes you just need to practice it a bit … and sometimes it’s just not the technique for you.  BUT … it’s worth a try!

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