We live in a world where it’s easy to get overwhelmed. We are constantly being overly stimulated by the media and our go-go-go culture. We have a never-ending list of responsibilities to get through and people who depend on us or that we feel responsible for. It often seems like there are never enough hours in the day. At some point, we all reach a breaking point and that’s okay.
But what if when you got to that point, rather than cave to it and spiral, you could actually take control of it and use the breakdown as a breakthrough? With the 3-3-3 technique, you take back your power, here’s how.
Stress and anxiety are normal responses from or nervous system. What happens is that when we feel overwhelmed, our body enters a state of fight or flight because of the over stimulus. Even if there is nothing really threatening happening, the feeling of burnout and stress can take over and make the mind feel uncertain and flustered.
The breathing accelerates, and blood pressure rises to help move nutrients and oxygen reach major muscle groups in order to prepare for defense. By actively taking the time to ground yourself, and soothe the anxiety, you can purposely slow down the breathing and send the blood back where it belongs. The 3-3-3 technique is a quick tool to do so.
How To Use It
The 3-3-3 technique is simple and can be used anywhere at any time. As the name suggests, it’s as simple as just naming three things you see, three things that you can touch in front of you, and three things that you can smell or taste in the moment. One way to ground yourself even further is by tasting something sour or bitter like fruit or piece of gum to bring your attention back to the here and now.
If for some reason some of these senses are not available to access, you can change these categories around such as by naming three friends, three places, and three textures. However, the more that you can involve your sense and make this process interactive, the easier it will be to bring your attention back to the present moment.
Why It Works: A Shift In Focus
The problem with anxiety is that it can take over and cause you to stay fixated on the source. This can make it hard to be productive or even go through basic activities like sleeping or eating. Sometimes to break out of an anxious state you need to teach your mind to think of anything else.
Grounding exercises are things you can do to bring yourself into contact with the present moment, the here and now. They take you out of your own head and shift your focus from your anxiety back to the world around you. While introspection is necessary, looking at the outside world can remind you of the big picture and make the source of your anxiety seem small in relation.
A New Perspective
The power of perspective is life-changing. When you’re in a state of anxiety, it’s had to look at the root in a non-biased productive way. It can feel worse than it is without any solutions in sight. By shifting the focus back to the present moment, and rooting yourself back in your place in the world, you take your power back and can actually think clearly. Then real change can happen.
By reframing the anxiety you might even realize that it was never worth the amount of stress you attributed to it in the first place. This is a better strategy than suppressing your feelings and constantly avoiding them through distractions. The point of this technique isn’t to ignore the problem but to take a moment to step away from the problem and come back to it with a clear mind.
In Mindfulness There Is Peace
The point of the 3-3-3 mindfulness technique is to “see, absorb, identify, and accept your feelings.” However, be kind to yourself if you find that even after using this technique the feelings still feel too intense. Look for support around you from friends, family, or even a professional who could help you tailor more grounding techniques
If you’re looking for a sign on whether you need a change then you’re here for a reason. This. is your sign. Sometimes to change perspectives and refocus on what truly matters, you need to change your mentality entirely.
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Higher Perspectives Author is one of the authors writing for Higher Perspectives