Encouragement and Reinforcement is Easy as 3 – 3 – 3, Look, Listen and Feel

by | Jul 8, 2024 | Uncategorized

Habits are Hard to Break; Habits are Hard to Make. How to Encourage and Reinforce

We recently moved to Sioux Falls, SD – My son has had to make many changes and controlling anxiety is an important skill.

How to use the 3 – 3 – 3 Rule

You may do this first thing every morning, evening or at any time you feel anxious to get your brain to stop buzzing and calm down. Redirect your brain and thoughts.

What is the 3 – 3- 3 – Rule?

Look, Listen, and Move – sometimes I think of Move as Feel.

Look around you and find three different things you can see. Things I look for:  My cat Jimmy, the clock to know what time it is, a peek out the window, my own hands, a book nearby, and what the title is. I am not sure this should count as a look, but, of course, my phone.

Listen carefully and identify three different sounds you can hear. I hear things like a bird, a clock ticking (which drives me crazy), the wind, a lawn mower, a TV from another room, or a car driving by.
Some people hear the sound of the computer, the hum of appliances or the fluorescent lights.

On one POD cast, I heard a person say they don’t leave a place until they stop, listen, and hear 20 different sounds! I would stick to 3. The point is this works, and you can modify it to work for you.

Move Three Parts of Your Body

Move three different parts of your body. I find firmly feeling my feet on the ground is very calming – my body is ready to get up and move; I open and close my hands 3 times, slowly, noticing each time they close – my hands I move my fingers, not like wiggling but in an open close method 3 times  – hand are ready for the day.

Visual Aids

Creating a visual guide can help make the 3-3-3 rule easier to remember and practice. Here’s how you can do it:

Create a simple chart with images here is and example.

Step 1: A picture of an eye with the text “See 3 things.”

Step 2: A picture of an ear with the text “Hear 3 things.”

Step 3: A picture of a person moving their body with the text “Move 3 parts.”

Remind Yourself

I am not sure about you, but I need reminders.
Reminders like sticky notes or alarms, to prompt them to practice the 3-3-3 rule regularly until it becomes a habit.

Good luck making new habits.

Tina M. Gunn, LPC, LMHC, LIMHP