what is the 3 3 3 rule for anxiety

Mariah Brown

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Mariah Brown

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Greetings! Are you looking for information about the 3 3 3 rule for anxiety? Well, you’ve come to the right place. In this article, we will dive into the details of this popular anxiety management technique and explore its effectiveness in providing relief. As someone with experience around anxiety and its impact on daily life, it’s important to understand strategies that can help alleviate its symptoms. Let’s unravel the 3 3 3 rule for anxiety and discover how it can make a positive difference for individuals dealing with anxiety disorders.

what is the 3 3 3 rule for anxiety

The Basics: Understanding the 3 3 3 Rule

Anxiety can be overwhelming, and finding ways to manage it effectively is crucial. The 3 3 3 rule is a simple yet practical technique that helps individuals cope with anxiety symptoms during difficult moments. Let’s break down this rule and explore how it can be utilized.

Step 1: Acknowledge Three Things Around You

The first step of the 3 3 3 rule is to focus your attention on three things in your immediate surroundings. Take a moment to observe and identify three objects, sounds, or sensations. By shifting your focus to these external elements, you divert your mind from anxious thoughts and ground yourself in the present moment. This practice helps break the cycle of anxiety and brings a sense of calmness.

For example, you may choose to notice the sound of birds chirping outside your window, the soft texture of your shirt against your skin, and the comforting scent of your favorite candle. By engaging your senses, you create a connection with the present reality and distance yourself from anxious thoughts that may be consuming your mind.

Step 2: Acknowledge Three Things You Can Touch

After identifying three things around you, it’s time to acknowledge three objects you can physically touch. By engaging with your sense of touch, you create a tactile experience that further grounds you in the present moment. The act of touching familiar objects provides reassurance and comfort.

You might touch the surface of your desk, feel the warmth of a cozy blanket, or hold onto a stress-relieving object such as a stress ball. The physical sensation generated by touching these objects helps divert your attention from anxiety and fosters a sense of stability and control.

Step 3: Acknowledge Three Things You Can Hear

The final step of the 3 3 3 rule involves acknowledging three sounds you can hear. Pay attention to your auditory environment and take note of three sounds that capture your attention. This step encourages you to focus on the present and creates a sense of mindfulness.

It could be listening to the gentle hum of the air conditioner, the distant sound of traffic outside, or the comforting rhythm of your own breathing. By attuning yourself to these sounds, you divert your thoughts from anxiety-inducing stimuli and immerse yourself in the present auditory experience.

Applying the 3 3 3 Rule in Practice

The 3 3 3 rule is a versatile technique that can be used anytime and anywhere when anxiety strikes. Whether you’re experiencing a panic attack or feeling overwhelmed by everyday stressors, following this rule can provide immediate relief. Here are a few scenarios where the 3 3 3 rule can be particularly beneficial:

In Social Situations:

When attending social gatherings or situations that trigger anxiety, the 3 3 3 rule can help you ground yourself and manage any anxious thoughts or sensations that arise.

During Panic Attacks:

If experiencing a panic attack, engaging in the 3 3 3 rule can disrupt the cycle of anxious thoughts and help bring a sense of calmness and control.

Before Important Events:

Prior to important events such as presentations or exams, utilizing the 3 3 3 rule can reduce anxiety levels, enabling you to perform at your best.

The Power of the 3 3 3 Rule: A Breakdown

Let’s break down the power of the 3 3 3 rule using a visual table:

Step What to Acknowledge
Step 1 Three things around you
Step 2 Three things you can touch
Step 3 Three things you can hear

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q: How long should I engage in the 3 3 3 rule?

A: The 3 3 3 rule is a flexible technique that can be applied for as long as needed to help manage anxiety. Some individuals find relief within a few minutes, while others may require more time to fully ground themselves.

Q: Can the 3 3 3 rule replace professional treatment for anxiety disorders?

A: The 3 3 3 rule is a self-help technique that can be used as a complementary strategy alongside professional treatment for anxiety disorders. It is not a substitute for therapy or medication but can provide immediate relief during acute moments of anxiety.

Q: Is the 3 3 3 rule scientifically supported?

A: While the 3 3 3 rule does not have extensive scientific research backing its effectiveness, it is a practical technique rooted in grounding and mindfulness principles. Many individuals have found it helpful in managing anxiety symptoms.


In conclusion, the 3 3 3 rule provides a practical and accessible tool for managing anxiety symptoms. By engaging your senses and shifting your focus to the present moment, you can find relief from anxious thoughts and sensations. Remember that while the 3 3 3 rule can be a helpful technique, it is always important to seek professional help for ongoing anxiety management. Stay grounded, practice self-care, and explore various strategies that work best for you. If you found this information valuable, be sure to explore our other articles on anxiety management and well-being.

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