The 5-4-3-2-1 game to control emotions

When I feel that anxiety takes over, I breathe and play the 5-4-3-2-1 game.

When I feel that anxiety takes over, I stop and, even if I can't sit down, I breathe and play the 5-4-3-2-1 game.

I observe the environment around me and notice:

  • 5 things I can see
  • 4 things I can touch and I touch them
  • 3 things I can hear
  • 2 things I can smell
  • 1 thing I can taste

I say them out loud or in my head, but I don't let anyone distract me from this exercise. I use my senses to stop my mind from the whirlwind it's in, and bring it back to the present moment.

I play this game with my children too, to help them get through the moment when their reptilian brain takes over and get to their rational brain. By now they know that it helps them and they follow me, so by the end of the game their brain is usually calm and receptive and we can talk and solve the problem / conflict.

We often underestimate the 5 senses, but they are effective tools—and always available—to anchor our mind to reality. We can play this game 1, 2, 3 times, as much as we need to feel that we are calming down and regaining control of our emotions.

If we give our children the tools to control their emotions, we raise balanced adults who don't let those emotions dominate them. The world desperately needs this kind of adults.

💡Find other ways to deal with crises in my online guide about “tantrums” which also includes a printable book for children where they can read the crocodile method—it helps tremendously during a crises. It's called "It's your crocodile" and you can find it in my shop.

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Educating for the long term, Montessori, multilingualism, and full-time traveling life.