The 3-3-3 Technique That's Better Than The 4-7-8 Technique For Overcoming Anxious Moments - Deepstash

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Why Do We Feel Overwhelmed?

Board-certified psychologist and behavioral sleep doctor Shelby Harris explains that, oftentimes, feelings of overwhelm occur when your fight-or-flight response is activated without an obvious stimulus. which can feel confusing and create more uncertainty.


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Why It's Important

When you're overwhelmed, it can be difficult to focus on anything other than your nervous energy, much less figure out how to overcome it. Even breathing exercises can sometimes cause you to become even more agitated. Holding your nose to do alternate nostril breathing can be embarassing and remembering to count while trying to prolong your breath can sometimes overwhelm you even more.

The key to soothing this distress (especially if your anxiety flareups are random) is a quick grounding exercise. One that's super easy to do.


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1. But First: See It, Recognize It And Accept It

Take a moment to see it, identify it and accept it. Affirm that its s ok to feel unexplained anxiousness. Do not brush it under the carpet or insist on a ‘good vibes' approach to how you feel. Instead, change how you view the situation.

In a study of college students assigned to give a speech, reappraising (aka reframing) or accepting their nerves was more effective at reducing physical distress than suppressing it. In fact, reappraising was shown to be the most effective technique when it came to moderating those feelings.


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2. The Rule Of 3

Now, here's where the Rule of 3 comes in.

Its as simple as naming 3 things. 3-3-3 of certain groups, that can actually ground you in the moment and creating mindfulness that forces you to think of something—anything!—to bring you back to the present moment.

Though some would suggest sticking to sight, sound and touch combi; it can be 3 things you're thankful about, colors. It can also be moving 3 different parts of your body.


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3. Allow Yourself To Worry About Only 3 Things At A Time

Allow yourself to worry about only 3 things at any given time. Once you have the 3 you allow yourself to think about, that's it you're maxed out. If you see another thing that will potentially make you worry, you either have to let go of 1 of your initial 3, or you choose not to add the last one to your worries.

By thinking about your fears in this straightforward way, it becomes obvious that while some of your problems have actionable solutions and others are completely out of your control, worrying does very little to help either.


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Jack of all people-related trades, master of none. Majored in Psychology, Customer Service Assoc for a few Years, HR Officer for 4, Manager and ESL Teacher for over 11 yrs now, an artist since birth.


It's helpful to have a simple tool readily available that you csn use for overwhelming situations without having to cue up a guided meditation or scroll through Google

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