What Is The 3 3 3 Rule For Anxiety?
Feelings of anxiety can be really troubling – they can make it hard to concentrate, and even harder to do what you need to get done.
But, regardless of whether you are experiencing feelings of everyday nervousness, having something big and stressful coming up (such as a test or a presentation), or are suffering from an anxiety based illness, there are steps you can take to help manage your feelings.
We have compiled a list of the best techniques for when you are feeling particularly anxious, or are experiencing a panic attack.
Read on to learn about the 3 3 3 rule for anxiety, as well as other tactics to manage your anxiety every day.
What Is The 3 3 3 Rule?
The 3 3 3 rule (also sometimes known as the rule of three) is a simple way to manage stress, anxiety, and feelings of being overwhelmed. It involves taking three deep breaths before responding to stressful situations or thoughts.
This technique has been shown to reduce stress levels and improve mood.
This method is often recommended by psychologists and therapists. It helps you focus on the present moment and take control over your emotions. If you want to try it out, follow these steps when you start to feel anxiety coming on:
When you start to feel anxiety building up in you, you should start to perform the 3 3 3 rule by pausing, and taking a peaceful look at your surroundings, including yourself.
Focus your vision on a static, physical object that is nearby. Name three of the things that are in your environment – for me right now, that is houseplant, candle, and cup of tea.
Pay attention to the intricate details of each of the objects, like the details of the houseplants leaves, or the glaze of the mug.
Once you have taken note of the sight of your surroundings, then you should turn all of your attention to the sounds that you are hearing in your environment.
Start listening to everything, and then identify only three of the sounds that you can hear – such as bird song, noise from the nearby road, and the hum of the refrigerator in the other room.
You should take note of the differences between each of these noises, like the cadence and the pitch of each unique sound.
When you have listened to the intricacies of your surroundings, you should start to pay attention to the feelings of touch that are in your environment.
Choose three different areas of your body to move – you can wiggle your toes, tap your knees together, or tilt your head from size to side.
Take into account your sensation of touch – how does the carpet feel on your toes, how do your clothes feel on your legs, how does your hair feel on your neck? Pay close attention to how everything feels on your skin.
Together, your senses of sight, touch and sound should create a sensual harmony of your environment – allowing you to ground yourself into your surroundings, and concentrate exclusively on the moment, rather than the worries and anxieties that are in your mind.
Enjoy your own attentiveness to the environment, and let yourself relax.
How Does The 3 3 3 Rule Work?
As we have already touched upon, the 3 3 3 rule is a great grounding technique, and can help to bring you out of your own emotional fog – and it is sometimes seen as a trick to help distract your brain.
This is not totally truthful, though, as there is more to it than just distraction.
Anxiety is often resulting from feelings of being overwhelmed, regarding things that are broadly out of your control. Despite not being able to affect the outcome of these situations, people still worry about how things will turn out.
The 3 3 3 rule allows you to be mindful of your current situation, while also focusing on what you can change – it shifts your focus to the present rather than what could possibly happen in the future.
By doing this, you can begin to gain some perspective on your circumstances, and see them in a new light.
The 3 3 3 method can also be used to help with stress reduction, and relaxation. It helps to calm your nervous system down, and reduce your heart rate.
It can also help to increase your sense of self-awareness, and allow you to become aware of your thoughts and emotions.
Overall, the 3 3 3 method is an excellent way to get back in touch with your senses, and reconnect with your environment.
Some Additional Methods To Help With Anxiety:
1. Take A Mental Step Away
Anxiety is typically focused on the future, and certain events that could play out. Instead, try to focus on present events.
Ask yourself what is happening to cause your anxiety, and what (if anything) needs to be done right now, for a favorable outcome.
If there isn’t anything that can be done now, then you need to be conscious about shelving the worry for now, and coming back to it later when it is more relevant.
2. Remember To Breathe Deeply.
Though this one may sound a little cliché, managing your breathing is one of the keys to relieving anxiety when you can feel it building up.
Take a moment to focus on your breathing, but straightening your back, and then breathe deeply in through your nose.
Hold it for three counts, and then exhale through your mouth slowly, whilst you are relaxing the muscles in your face, jaw, shoulders, and chest.
This should be effective at slowing your heart rate, and even lower your blood pressure – both of which are symptoms of elevated anxiety levels.
3. Practice Meditating.
Mindfulness meditation reduces stress and helps people cope with life’s challenges. Guided meditation can help you start off by reciting a mantra. You should try to focus on breathing while doing this exercise.
Don’t let your mind drift to other things. If you need to stop, just pause for a moment before continuing. Practice mindfulness meditation daily for the maximum antianxiety effects.
In conclusion, I would like to say that anxiety is something that many people experience, and it is important to learn how to manage it effectively.
There are several techniques available to help alleviate anxiety, and they all work differently for different people. However, the most important thing is to find what works best for you, and stick with it.
This will ensure that you continue to improve, and develop coping skills that will help you deal with any future anxiety attacks.
Author: Michelle Landeros, LMFT (license:115130)
Michelle Landeros is a Licensed Marriage Family Therapist (LMFT). She is passionate about helping individuals, couples and families thrive.
Last updated: December 2, 2022