Psychologists call it ‘grounding’. When you’re experiencing a panic attack, look around and find:
5 things you can see
4 things you can hear
3 things you can touch
2 things you can smell
1 thing you can taste
I tried it. It doesn’t really work for me. The same as about half the mammal population, I have anxiety disorder, so I look for ways to set things right when I feel it coming. I have severe headaches that go along with the disorder, the kind that are disturbed by sight and sound, so the things I can see and hear need to be eliminated. I close my eyes and smell the world. That’s fine as long as nobody is puffing away on a cigarette or the dog hasn’t farted close-by. My favorite aromas are biscuits cooking in the oven or coffee brewing. Some smells can also contribute to the headaches, especially the cigarette smoke.
The things I can touch are fine, but I’m a little bit OCD, so I have to wash my hands pretty often. I love touching paper. Paperback books are my favorite feeling of all the inanimate objects, although I don’t really consider books inanimate.
Things I can taste are limited. Coffee is my favorite, and it’ll be tragic when the doctor tells me I can’t drink it any more. But coffee is definitely one thing that can ground me. (No pun intended.)