What Is The 333 Rule For Anxiety And Panic Attacks? It's A Soothing Technique

Last updated by Katie M.

I want to be completely open and honest with you, so let’s get started. Anxiety has dominated my life for the past 5 years and has been at the root of countless panic attacks and bouts of intense stress 😟. You’ve probably guessed it, but it has had a devastating impact on my mental health and has therefore changed my life for the worst. Now, I’m not here for a pity party, but instead of focusing on the negative sides of this condition, I want to share the most effective tip I’ve found when it comes to feeling less anxious and reducing panic attacks; so without further ado, let’s take a look at the 3-3-3 rule.

What Is The 333 Rule For Anxiety And Panic Attacks? It's A Soothing Technique

Does the 333 rule work on anxiety and panic attacks? - Yes, here's how you can practice it too 💪

This soothing technique consists of looking around when you sense a panic attack coming on. Once you've done that, you need to start focusing on naming three things you see. Then, identifying and naming three sounds you hear. Finally, the 333 rule involves moving three parts of your body and these parts include your ankle, arm and fingers. This method has proven to be very effective for me when coupled with deep breathing. I find it so calming on my stress and anxiety, that whenever my brain starts to panic and run away with itself, this process brings me back to the present moment and helps me center my mind.


📌 Fact: 📌

Anxiety disorders are the most common mental health issue in the United States, and research shows they are thought to affect over 40 million adults.


Every day is a struggle, but different anxiety management techniques exist

Anyone with a generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) knows that sufferers can never be totally free of this disorder, but having tips and techniques on managing its impact is undeniably very helpful. Panic disorders are very unpredictable, however they are always omnipresent below the surface of our chests and when the occasional worry kicks in, our minds are never truly at ease. In my case, things that seem irrelevant to most people, such as driving to a new place or meeting someone new, send my mind into overdrive and plunge me into a whirlwind of stress, where I feel nothing but anxious. Over the years, I’ve learned to deal with my condition, yet I still find myself being caught off guard from time to time, especially when I have something new to do.

Being forced out of my comfort zone is often what triggers my invasive thoughts and that tight feeling in my chest, for example, I was recently tasked with training a new coworker on a system, and I was unable to sleep for half the night beforehand. I know this doesn’t seem like much of an achievement, but when I look back at when I was fighting against myself in an attempt to refute the acceptance of this disorder, I wouldn’t have slept for a single minute the night before. If my battle, or as I now prefer to call it, my journey with GAD has taught me anything, it’s to be less harsh on myself. Before, at the start of my journey, whenever I felt an attack coming on, I was so unprepared and would always beat myself up for handling things so badly afterward, but that's no longer the case.

How the 3-3-3 rule has helped me along the way

Overtime, I’ve learned that GAD is something I have to live with on a daily basis and that isn’t going to go away anytime soon. Coming to this realization gave me the nudge I needed to understand that I wasn’t to blame and that I didn’t deserve to suffer, or feel like a prisoner in my own body or mind. If I wanted to have any semblance of a normal life, I would need to look at ways to handle my emotions and techniques to soothe the symptoms of anxiety. I tried breathing techniques and distracting my mind with different resources, but nothing ever really seemed to work for me. Then, one day whilst speaking with a friend, she told me about a revolutionary trick which combined both breathing exercises and distraction mechanisms; in other words, the 333 rule, which leads me to where I am today; a happy and fulfilled GAD sufferer!

📍 FAQ; What are some other coping techniques for anxiety and panic attacks? 📍

In addition to treatments such as medication and therapy, you can try other anxiety coping techniques.

General coping techniques may include:

  • Taking time out: Get out of the situation and do something different, such as listening to your favorite music or stretching.
  • Minimize alcohol and caffeine consumption: Both alcohol and caffeine can aggravate anxiety and cause mood swings.
  • Laugh more: Humor naturally relaxes us.
  • Take care of your body: Make sure you get enough sleep and eat balanced meals.
  • Try mindfulness: Mindfulness involves focusing on the present moment and the feelings that are running through you.
  • Pay attention to your breathing: Use breath work, which refers to different breathing techniques that can help reduce anxiety and stress.
  • Meditate: Practice meditation to calm and refocus your body and mind (this activity can include breath work and mindfulness, but isn't always the case).
  • Reduce stress: Try other stress-reducing exercises such as tai chi or yoga.
  • Relieve physical tension: Consider trying massage or acupuncture to treat the physical tension that anxiety creates in your body.

Many of these coping strategies can also be part of the lifestyle change approach to treating anxiety.

What is the 54321 method for anxiety?

The 54321 method is based on coming back to presence, especially through our five senses, bringing our attention back, and refocusing on the world around us when we feel a moment of anxiety. If this method is acclaimed, it is because it is within everyone's reach and can be done quickly and discreetly. In the event of an anxiety attack, when the first bodily signals are felt, all you have to do is focus on your senses in five steps.

  • The first concerns sight: you have to force yourself to look around you and identify 5 elements - not distressing, it goes without saying - that are part of our environment.
  • The second step focuses on hearing: you have to identify 4 distinct sounds, such as the ringing of a telephone, the voice of a person you know, a song, etc.
  • Then comes the third stage, which is that of touch. It is then necessary to focus on three elements that you can feel through your skin, it can be a jewel that you never remove, the fall of a garment, or the wind in your hair...
  • The fourth step concerns the sense of smell, which can be more complicated depending on where you are. But if possible, try to smell two distinct smells: that of freshly mown grass, of a new book, or even that which escapes from a bakery.
  • Finally, the fifth and last step is that of taste. For this one, you can simply try to analyze the taste that you have in your mouth, drink a sip of water or take a candy and savor it fully.

What is the 555 rule for anxiety?

The 555 method is a simple anxiety management technique that can help you refocus and calm your mind when you're feeling on edge. Here's how it works:

  • Find a quiet place: To begin with, find a place where you can sit quietly and relax. This can be anywhere, at home, in the office, or outside.
  • Breathe deeply: Close your eyes and take a deep breath in through your nose, counting to 5. Fill your lungs with air until you feel fully expanded.
  • Hold your breath: Hold your breath for 5 seconds. This pause creates a feeling of calm and control.
  • Exhale slowly: Exhale slowly and completely through your mouth, counting to 5. Concentrate on the exhalation and let go of any tension.
  • Repeat: Repeat this breathing cycle (inhale for 5 seconds, hold for 5 seconds, exhale for 5 seconds) several times, concentrating on your breathing and trying to clear your mind of anxious thoughts.

This technique helps to slow your heart rate, calm your mind, and bring you back into the present moment. It can be used at any time you feel anxious or stressed, whether during an anxiety attack or simply to relax in your daily life.

Editor’s opinion - What's 333? Give it a go, and you'll see how powerful it is!

This rule has changed my life and altered my perception on how I view my condition. Knowing that this trick works for me means I’ve decided that my illness ought to take a back seat and can’t be at the center of everything I do. I’ve let my disorder control me for way too long, it’s about time I took the power back and started to life my life to the fullest!

🤗 Understand yourself, accept yourself, be happy... Let’s do it here and now!

#BornToBeMe


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