Here’s how the 333 rule could be key to calming your anxiety


IF you suffer with anxiety, it can be pretty debilitating.

It’s a general feeling of unease or worry, which many will be able to relate to due to current concerns around the cost of living crisis.

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Anxiety is a common condition that affects millions of people – but there are things we can do to manage itCredit: Getty

Millions of people suffer with the condition in the UK and in extreme cases, it can cause panic attacks.

In order to avoid it escalating to this, many people will practise cognitive behavioural skills.

One of the more informal skills of this type of method is the 333 technique.

Experts say this is an easy skill you can remember and one you can also use in the moment if something has triggered your feelings of unease.

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This can be different for different people.

Some will be triggered by crowded places, while for others it could be a certain situation or phobia.

Experts at ChoosingTherapy say it can help you recognise sights sounds and textures, making you feel grounded in the present moment.

In order to practice the technique you need to look for and identify, three of each of the follow:

  1. Three things you can see
  2. Three things you can hear
  3. and three things you need to 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.”

They added that focusing on three things you can see can help you become visually aware of your surroundings.

The idea isn’t to have objects in mind that you want to see, but to focus on the world around you,

This, they say, helps you deal with your anxiety by removing you from the mental chatter causing you stress.

What are the symptoms of anxiety?

According to Anxiety UK, the signs of anxiety can be divided into physical and psychological symptoms.

You may not experience all of them, but physical symptoms include:

  • Racing heartbeat
  • Shortness of breath
  • Chest tightness
  • Dry mouth
  • Butterflies in stomach
  • Nausea
  • Urge to pass urine/empty bowels
  • Tremor
  • Sweating
  • Pins and needles

Meanwhile, the psychological symptoms include:

  • Inner tension
  • Agitation
  • Fear of losing control
  • Dread that something catastrophic is going to happen (such as blackout, seizure, heart attack or death)
  • Irritability
  • Feelings of detachment

The symptoms of panic attacks can feel similar to a heart attack – as they often involve rapid breathing, chest pains and pins and needles.

Next it’s three things that you can hear and this can help you focus.

Depending on where you are this might be difficult and you don’t always have to seek out the most obvious sounds.

These can be anything from the ticking of a clock to the rusting of the leaves on the trees.

Lastly, it’s three things you can touch or feel.

These can be things that are in your reach or even parts of your body or your clothing.

Experts at Mindbar also recommend the technique and added: “Our minds often get stuck in a pattern of overthinking.

“Practicing this method is an easy tool to bring you back to the present moment.”

Anxiety disorders can develop as a result of a number of factors, including stress, genetics and childhood environment.

There are also a number of different types of anxiety disorder, from generalised anxiety to obsessive compulsive disorder, specific phobias and panic disorders.

Some people may suffer from more than one type of anxiety disorder – for example, people with a specific phobia might experience panic as a result.





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