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How Using the 5 Senses Grounding Exercise Can Help You Manage Workplace Anxiety.

Updated: Jun 28, 2023

Workplace anxiety can affect anyone, especially managers who have to deal with multiple responsibilities, deadlines, and expectations. It can manifest as nervousness, worry, fear, or panic before or during important situations, such as interviews, presentations, meetings, or performance reviews. Workplace anxiety can impair productivity, performance, and well-being if left unchecked.

White Female Manager expressing anxiety.

During my professional career, anxiety has been a constant companion. It was there during my first interview, my first day of work, and at every major presentation, event, or difficult conversation I have ever since. In truth, anxiety has been a friend that has helped me to prepare for uncertainty and fuel to motivate me to be my best. But left unchecked, it has also been an anchor that has slowed me down and been a wall that has prevented me from doing my best work.

I practice multiple tactics to help me manage my anxiety. I exercise, journal, meditate, read, and talk with friends and family to help me keep things in perspective, burn off energy, and clarify my mind. While all of these tactics are effective, there are still times right before important events when my heart beats fast, my stomach gets tight, and I feel overwhelmed by the moment.

When this happens, one method I use to stop my brain from bouncing all over the place is to center myself using the 5 Senses Grounding Exercises. This is a simple exercise that you can do anywhere. By focusing on your current environment, you can pause your anxious thoughts, which is often enough to help you regain some calm and focus just before an important event.

5 Steps to reducing workplace anxiety:

  • Sight: Look around you and name five things you can see. Notice their colors, shapes, and details. For example, you can say, "I see a blue pen, a green plant, a white paper, a red mug, and a black laptop."

  • Touch: Feel your body and things around you and name four things you can touch. Notice their sensations, weights, and textures. For example, you can say, "I feel my feet on the floor, my hands on the desk, my clothes on my skin, my hair on my face, and my breath in my chest."

  • Hearing: Listen carefully and name four things you can hear. Notice their sounds, volumes, and rhythms. For example, you can say, "I hear a clock ticking, a keyboard typing, a phone ringing, a door closing, and a bird chirping."

  • Smell: Breathe deeply and name two things you can smell. Notice their scents, intensities, and qualities. For example, you can say, "I smell coffee, perfume, soap, flowers, and mint."

  • Taste: Take a sip of water or a bite of food and name one thing you can taste. Notice their flavors, textures, and temperatures. For example, you can say, "I taste water, salt, sugar, lemon, and bread."

These exercises allow you to shift your attention away from your anxiety and onto your sensory experience. This can help you relax your muscles, lower your heart rate and blood pressure, and reduce your stress hormones. You can also gain more clarity and confidence to face the challenges ahead.

For maximum results, practice this skill before you need it. I recommend pausing at least once a day for the next 7 days to do this exercise. The more you rehearse this practice, the better you will get at it, and the more effective it will be in bringing you to the present moment, allowing you to take back control of your emotions. Managing your emotions is an important skill that will help you to be the best version of yourself.

To summarize:

  • Workplace anxiety is common among managers and can affect your work performance and well-being.

  • 5 senses grounding exercises are simple techniques that help you focus on the present moment and calm your mind and body.

  • They involve using your sight, hearing, smell, taste and touch to anchor yourself in the here and now.

  • You can do these exercises before a stressful event at work to reduce your anxiety and help you to be calm and focused

  • Practice this skill to improve your effectiveness, grounding, and centering yourself.

If you are struggling with workplace anxiety and need more support or guidance, reach out to Your Path Coaching and Consulting. We specialize in helping managers overcome their anxiety and achieve their career goals. We offer personalized coaching sessions to help you develop effective coping skills, build confidence,

and enhance your performance.

Contact us today for a free consultation!


Thank you for reading this blog

Dorian Cunion is an Executive Coach and Business Consultant with Your Path Coaching and Consulting. He is a former retail executive with over 20 years of experience in the retail industry. He is a Co-Active coach who focuses on helping professionals and small business owners overcome insecurities, knowledge gaps, and lack of direction. He does this by assisting clients to tap into their values, recognize their strengths, and develop actionable strategies for growth.

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