Most of us have experienced anxiety at some point in our lives, but for many the sensation can feel so overwhelming it stops us living life to its fullest.
The cost-of-living crisis and the war in Ukraine are creating a general sense of unease and worry, and as such it’s important to recognise these feelings and do something about it.
Millions of people suffer with anxiety across the UK, and many have opted to practise cognitive behavioural skills – with impressive results.
One easy-to-grasp method that is gaining a lot of traction at the moment is the very simple 333 technique.
It is easy to remember and readily available to you every moment of the day.
Firstly, it’s important to acknowledge the source of anxiety can vary wildly from person to person and you should always contact your GP if you feel anxiety is impacting your day-to-day life.
Some get uncomfortable in crowded places while others experience a more generalised social anxiety, or a very specific phobia.
Experts at ChoosingTherapy say the 333 method focuses on recognising sights, sounds and textures, which has the effect of making you feel grounded in the present moment.
So what is this 333 method?
If you’re interested in practising this technique, you’ll be enthused by its simplicity.
Next time you feel the merest hint of anxiety, you just need to look for – and identify – three of each of the follow:
- Three things you can see
- Three things you can hear
- Three things you can touch
The experts explain: “The 333 anxiety rule takes you out of your head by using your senses as a way to reconnect with your body in the midst of negative anxiety symptoms including intrusive thoughts and panic attacks.”
By simply focusing on three things, you can actually become more visually aware of your surroundings.
It’s important to remember that the idea behind this isn’t to think of specific objects, but to focus on what you can actually see.
Experts say this combats anxiety by actively removing you from the mental chatter that causes stress.
Symptoms of anxiety
Anxiety UK say the signs of anxiety can be separated into two distinct camps – physical and psychological.
The following symptoms of anxiety are meant as a guide; you may not experience all of them:
- Shortness of breath
- Racing heartbeat
- Chest tightness
- Dry mouth
- Butterflies in stomach
- Urge to pass urine/empty bowels
- Pins and needles
And the psychological symptoms include:
- Fear of losing control
- Inner tension
- Feelings of detachment
- A feeling of dread that something truly catastrophic is going to happen (such as heart attack, blackout, seizure, or even death)
The final bullet point is important to mention as symptoms of a panic attack can often feel similar to a heart attack; a panic attack can often manifest itself as chest pains, rapid breathing and worrisome pins and needles.
Three things you can hear
Focusing on three things you can hear can really help you focus, and detract you from being ‘inside your head’ too much.
It isn’t always easy to find three things to listen to, but there is usually something you can tune in to if you try hard enough – whether it’s birdsong or even a neighbour slamming their car door.
Three things you can touch/feel
This needn’t be complicated, and can be as simple as your skin resting inside your clothing, touching another part of your body or brushing your hand on a table.
Experts at Mindbar are big fans of the 333 technique, saying: “Our minds often get stuck in a pattern of overthinking.
“Practising this method is an easy tool to bring you back to the present moment.”