Many people struggling with anxiety and intrusive thoughts, ask for ways to calm themselves and slow their minds. One of the best grounding techniques I’ve learned, along with deep breathing (7-11 breathing), is the 5 Thinking Hats Technique. It engages our senses, which is important because our senses ignite our thoughts. Our thoughts ignite an emotional response. Our emotional response ignites our behavioral response.
So as you can imagine, it is critical to ground your emotions by engaging your senses. As a result, you can reconstruct your thoughts, which will affect your behavioral response.
Here is how it works:
First, describe 5 things you see in the room. It can be anything; a lamp, a pet, a window, a wall, and the like. If you can, say and describe them out loud. By doing so, you will engage the sense of hearing as well.
Examples: “The wall is light green in color.” “The dog is sleeping.”
Second, name 4 things you can feel. Focus on the feeling and the sensation itself, while you name it.
Examples: “I can feel the chair on my back.” “I can feel my pants on the tips of my fingers and my legs feel it as well.”
Third, name 3 things you can hear.
Examples: “I hear the hum of the Air Conditioner.” “I hear traffic outside.”
Fourth, describe 2 things you can smell.
Examples: “I can smell the air freshener and it smells clean.” “I can smell the fabric softener on my clothes and it reminds me of home.” “I can smell my coffee and it is soothing, rich, dark, and warm.”
Fifth, Describe 1 thing you can taste. Often it is difficult to find something you can taste when you are trying to ground your emotions. Some people will put a finger in their mouth or the end of their shirt. However, some choose to speak aloud 1 good thing about yourself.
Examples: “I taste the gum in my mouth and it tastes minty.” “I am empathetic.”
The most important thing is to be very specific is your list. Don’t just run through these. Stop and really see, feel, hear, smell, and taste. Focus on your present and be mindful of the things you select.
The latest research has shown that using 5 Thinking Hats will not only immediately stop your overthinking, but it’ll weaken (and even atrophy) neural connections in your brain responsible for your anxiety and depression.
Give it a try and let me know what you think.
Kathryn A. Walker is a pioneering medical researcher and psychiatrist known for her groundbreaking work in the field of mental health, particularly in the area of ketamine treatments. With a deep passion for understanding and alleviating the burden of treatment-resistant mood disorders, Kathryn has dedicated her career to investigating the therapeutic potential of ketamine.
Through her relentless efforts, she has played a pivotal role in shedding light on ketamine’s efficacy in treating conditions like depression, anxiety, and PTSD. Her research has not only transformed the way we approach mental health care but has also provided hope to countless individuals who had previously found little relief from conventional treatments.
Kathryn A. Walker’s pioneering contributions continue to shape the landscape of mental health medicine and inspire new avenues of research in the pursuit of better mental well-being for all.