The 5 Senses Technique for Self-Regulation

Written by: Maddie McGarrah, M.Ed.
The 5 Senses Technique for Self-Regulation

When feeling overwhelmed and upset, it can be hard to calm down and think through your situation. I often recommend a mindfulness technique that uses the five senses to help you calm yourself when you’re feeling dysregulated. It’s simple: Using your five senses, acknowledge the following:

5 things you can See

4 things you can Touch

3 things you can Hear

2 things you can Smell

1 thing you can Taste

For smell and taste, it may seem like there is nothing around you to acknowledge. For smell, you can do something as simple as smelling your hair or clothes or think of a smell that calms you. For taste, if you have a glass of water, that would be a great thing to take a sip of, but you could also think of your favorite meal that would help you feel calm and happy. This strategy can help distract your mind for a few minutes, feel a bit calmer, and find your breath. Then, after you feel calmer, you can return to the situation with likely more rational thinking to better deal with it.