Mercer Council News
Managing tough emotions with the 54321 Technique
Many of us have experienced some sort of traumatic event in our lives, and times like the present can intensify feelings such as hopelessness and fear.
"Trauma is an exposure to an extraordinary experience that presents a physical or psychological threat to oneself or others and generates a reaction of helplessness and fear (American Psychiatric Association [APA], 2013). The exposure may have occurred in the distant or recent past, and pervasive symptoms such as intrusive thoughts of the event, hyperarousal to stimuli in the environment, negative moods, and avoidance of cues related to the trauma are characteristic of both acute and chronic posttraumatic stress disorders (APA, 2013). Traumatic experiences take many forms, but they typically involve an unexpected event outside of a person's control such as criminal victimization, accident, natural disaster, war, or exposure to community or family violence." (Jill Levenson, Trauma-Informed Social Work Practice, Social Work, Volume 62, Issue 2, April 2017, Pages 105–113, https://doi.org/10.1093/sw/swx001)
When we become stressed in response to a trauma, our brains jump into overload leaving us with symptoms like anxiety which can sometimes culminate in panic attacks. Fortunately, with some tools and practice we can gain control of these difficult feelings and thoughts before they control us. I created this video to share a technique I use to help me out when I feel anxious - the 54321 Technique. It's quick, simple, and (best of all) it works! Students, teens, and adults I've worked with have also used this method to create a mindful moment in which they can de-stress. Take a look at the video and the infographic below to see how to make this technique work for you.
Wishing you good mental health!
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