5, 4, 3, 2, 1: Countdown to make anxiety blast off

Everyone feels anxious now and then. But there are things you can do to minimize those feelings.

In the realm of mental anticipation, there’s a sequence that often initiates an emotional rocket launch—a countdown, much like the 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 before a spaceship’s departure. Yet, instead of propelling towards distant galaxies, this countdown triggers an inward spiral. Anxiety, the cosmic force within, readies for takeoff as each number echoes louder within the mind.

Sit quietly. Look around you and notice:

  • 5 things you can see: Your hands, the sky, a plant on your colleague’s desk
  • 4 things you can physically feel: Your feet on the ground, a ball, your friend’s hand
  • 3 things you can hear: The wind blowing, children’s laughter, your breath
  • 2 things you can smell: Fresh-cut grass, coffee, soap
  • 1 thing you can taste: A mint, gum, the fresh air

This exercise helps you shift your focus to your surroundings in the present moment and away from what is causing you to feel anxious. It can help interrupt unhealthy thought patterns.

At 5, thoughts begin to converge, a gathering storm brewing at the edge of consciousness. A sense of impending unrest tightens its grip.

4 arrives, each digit a drumbeat amplifying the pace of worry. It’s the heartbeat before a pivotal moment, a crescendo of unease echoing through the chambers of the mind.

With 3, the atmosphere crackles, tension sparking like electricity in the air. Rationality battles restlessness, a duel between what is and what might be.

2 looms, heralding the peak of apprehension. Doubt and fear collide, creating a surge of palpable tension, an overwhelming sense of imminent departure.

And finally, 1—the threshold before the unknown. Anxiety launches, a rocket soaring into the vast expanse of the mind, leaving echoes of worry in its wake.

Yet, within this countdown lies an opportunity. Just as a rocket’s trajectory can be redirected, so too can the course of thoughts. Each digit, a chance to ground oneself, to breathe, and to harness the power within to alter the destination. Amidst the countdown, there’s the potential for resilience to emerge, for strength to anchor against the anxiety’s pull, and for the countdown itself to become a signal to pause, reset, and reclaim control before the blastoff.