The 3 3 3 Rule Anxiety: Using Sight, Sound, And Touch To Reduce Anxiety

Mindfulness In Action: Using Sight, Sound, And Touch To Reduce Anxiety(The 333 Rule)

Anxiety is a much more common problem than we realize. Some people may be more prone to it than others, but everyone can fall prey to anxiety at some point in life. Anxiety disorders entail more than the occasional feelings of worry and fear. According to WebMD, these disorders affect around 40 million Americans.

What Is The 333 Rule For Anxiety?

The 333 rule, also commonly known as "the rule of three," is a popular anxiety exercise that brings relief to people dealing with panic attacks by directing them to focus on their immediate surroundings. To put it simply, this grounding technique aims to focus on three objects you can see, hear, and touch. This practical exercise enables you to reconnect with your physical reality and snap out of your frightening anxiety symptoms. 

Anyone can use this short and simple method to calm anxiety, but it is important not to rush things and take your time focusing on the items you spot. Any time you feel overwhelmed by intrusive thoughts, you can start with some breathing techniques and then utilize the 333 rule to calm down.  

  • Name three things you can see - This step is all about becoming aware of your visual surroundings. You can focus on any three animate or inanimate objects around you. You may aim for small and discreet items in your room, such as a pencil or lipstick, or big things you can see from your window, such as trees and houses. This is an effective way to slow down the racing thoughts that stress you out. 
  • Name three things you can hear - Identifying sounds in your environment is another great way to quiet the voice of anxiety in your head. By focusing on the sound of rain or bird chirping, you can temporarily free yourself from the cycle of negative thinking and regain connection to your surroundings. 
  • Name three things you can touch - Last but not least, identify and focus on three objects that you can touch or move. These can include inanimate items within your reach, nearby animals, or even parts of your own body. Shifting your attention to tangible objects is one of the most effective ways to abandon your distressing thoughts and stay present in your physical environment. 

Is It OK To Worry A Lot?

Considering the fast-paced order of our modern society, experiencing worries and doubts is a natural part of life. It is normal to feel anxious before an important trip, a job interview, or even a first date. However, if you are plagued by persistent and uncontrollable feelings of anxiety, that is a potential cause for concern. Irrepressible negative thoughts and worst-case scenarios can interfere with your daily life and pose an obstacle on your way to success.

Ceaseless worrying and overthinking prompts your nervous system to release so-called “stress hormones,” which can lead to various unpleasant symptoms, such as shortness of breath, fast heart rate, and increased blood sugar levels. Over time, the effects of anxiety might affect your overall health by weakening different organ systems.

As various nagging concerns pile up in the back of your mind, they can put you at a higher risk of high blood pressure, stroke, or cardiac arrest. If high levels of anxiety stick around long enough, they repeatedly trigger stress hormones that increase your heart rate. This may lead to blood vessel inflammation, hardened artery walls, higher cholesterol levels, and other health issues. 

4 Strategies That Can Help You Potentially Alleviate Anxiety Completely:

1. Understanding anxiety

There are a lot of professional and medical opinions on whether or not anxiety is the result of a chemical imbalance. Though that may be part of the problem, your surroundings also play a major role in how you feel. According to Calm Clinic, when you feel anxious about things, it could be logical, it could be emotional, or it could be just the way your brain responds to its natural chemical processes.

2. Observe what your body and mind react to

Calm Clinic recommends that you get in tune with yourself and your mind and figure out why your body is reacting to threats the way it does. This can help you develop a way to stop anxiety from escalating because you’ll become more mindful of yourself and your surroundings. It could work for some more than others!

Calm Clinic recommends that if you assume that a chemical imbalance is what causes your anxiety, regardless of what treatment you get, you still need to learn coping tools that can help overcome your anxiety. If you learn how to control the extent to which anxiety affects you, you’ll make a positive change to your chemical imbalance.

3. Challenge difficult thoughts

The Centre for Applied Research in Mental Health & Addiction lists the second step that you can do to train your brain to stop worrying about things that you simply can’t control. That is, challenging the thoughts that you’re worried about. The site notes that sometimes it helps to ask a friend or a family member’s opinion about the situation. So, for example, if you have anxiety about someone talking negatively about you, ask the person about it first before you start panicking about it.

The reality is that there’s no point in panicking about something that might not even exist in the first place. Then, if the situation does, in fact, exist, the next thing that might help is to see how others would react to it if they were in your shoes. The site notes that even imagining how most people would react to a worrying thought will help you come up with a more realistic way of thinking!

4. Train your brain

Verywell Mind says that when you find yourself in a stressful situation, you have to train your brain to do calm thinking. There’s no way that it’ll happen on its own. Just like giving advice to your friends when they are worrying about things, you have to tell yourself how to look at the situation in a positive way. Essentially, if excessive worrying occurs, talk back to it.

Of course, this is easier said than done. I mean, if there have been so many times that your mind has been distorted, it’s hard to see the truth. I get it. But you can’t feed into the worrying thoughts. That’ll just make it worse. For example, if you ask yourself, “What if I keep getting worse?” or “What if she tells this person everything I just told her?” then you are feeding into the anxiety. Try to keep away from that and instead feed your brain with more realistic thoughts.

I get that all this stuff may be easier said than done, and no one truly understands the anxiety that you go through unless they are in your shoes. But the reality is that you can take all the medication in the world to help your anxiety, which, of course, works, but trying some of these coping skills can help you in the long run. 


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