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Home arrow Health arrow Mental Health arrow What Is the 333 Rule for Anxiety, and Can It Help You Find Calm?

What Is the 333 Rule for Anxiety, and Can It Help You Find Calm?

Written by Edibel Quintero, RD
Fact checked by Rosmy Barrios, MD
Last update: October 10, 2023
3 min read 1127 Views 0 Comments
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Anxious feelings are unpleasant, and a sudden anxiety attack can make you panic. While it won’t eliminate your anxiety, there are coping techniques that can help you manage anxiety in the moment. One of the most common strategies is the 333 rule. Discover what it is and whether it might help you cope with your anxiety better.

What is the 3 3 3 rule for anxiety

We all get anxious from time to time, but an anxiety disorder can significantly reduce your quality of life.

When an anxiety attack hits, it can be difficult to control your feelings and the physical symptoms that occur, such as heart palpitations, sweating, trembling, and nausea. Following a set of simple rules can help you calm yourself and regain control in the present moment.

In this article, we dive deep into what the 333 rule for anxiety is and whether it can help you manage anxious thoughts. 

What Is the 333 Rule?

The 333 rule is a popular coping technique for managing stress and anxiety. It involves three factors to help you reduce anxiety and prevent it from worsening. The idea is to focus your mind and bring emotional grounding during those moments you feel anxious.

The right techniques can make dealing with anxiety and panic attacks a little easier in everyday life. The 333 rule is pretty straightforward. It comprises three things – sight, sound, and touch. When you feel particularly anxious or overwhelmed, try the following methods:

#1 See

Look at the world around you and identify three physical objects you can see. For example, if standing outdoors, you might point out a tree, a park bench, and a car. Indoors, you might see a bookshelf, a desk, and a lamp. Whatever the three objects, try to focus carefully.

You can look for large or small objects. The objects themselves don’t matter, but the idea is to focus your attention on them in a bid to take your mind away from whatever is causing you stress. Take your time and pay close attention to the details, like the shapes and colors.

#2 Hear

Next, identify three sounds you can hear in your current environment. Again, this can bring you back into the present moment as you become more in touch with your surroundings. You might listen out for sounds such as birds singing, leaves rustling, or people talking nearby.

#3 Touch

Finally, engage your sense of touch by touching three things within your reach. Placing your hands on something physical is a quick way to help you feel grounded. Alternatively, you can move three body parts. Try moving your fingers, reaching your arms out, and lifting your feet.

Is It Possible to Treat Anxiety?

Yes, it is possible to treat anxiety and find effective ways of dealing with those negative feelings. Finding the right treatment plan can take a little time, but once you do, you can begin to live a more fulfilling life. Remember, you do not have to deal with anxiety alone.

Most people with anxiety disorders find psychotherapy and medications helpful. Often, people use a combination of the two. Aside from these options, lifestyle changes, like exercising and eating a well-balanced diet, are essential to managing long-term anxiety and stress.

How to Cope With Anxiety

Anxiety is a worldwide mental health issue, and scientists are always working on new ways of treating anxiety. Not everybody wants to use medication, and the good news is that there are other techniques you can use daily to relieve anxiety symptoms.

Here are three top tips:

#1 Exercise daily

Exercise has countless benefits for your physical and mental health. You can use it as a tool to reduce stress and boost your mood, as physical activity increases the release of your brain’s feel-good endorphins. It can help clear your mind and temporarily mitigate negative feelings.

Morning walks are perfect for including in your daily routine. Alternatively, you can ramp up your exercise schedule with long runs and other higher-impact sports that require your full concentration, drawing you away from unwanted thoughts.

#2 Try deep breathing exercises

Practicing mindfulness is a powerful anxiety and stress-buster. Slow breathing techniques can aid psychological well-being by increasing the oxygen supply to the brain and stimulating parasympathetic activity. Breathing practice can be particularly helpful during a panic attack.

#3 Use an app

Smartphone apps can offer assistance for anxiety management. Many mental health apps nowadays use exercises from cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), a type of talk therapy, to teach coping skills. You can track your thoughts, document your mood, and partake in daily wellness activities within anxiety and stress management apps.

A Word From a Psychologist

Most people experience anxiety. It may be triggered by moving to a new city, preparing for a big presentation at work, or general worries about the future. However, anxiety disorders are severe mental health conditions that can affect daily functioning and reduce the quality of life.

Anxiety might make you avoid certain situations, especially if you suffer from social anxiety. Several types of anxiety disorders can interfere with your life, including generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), and panic disorder.

When experiencing an anxiety episode, the 333 rule offers a mental trick to recenter your mind and body. Whether you’re dealing with a panic attack while driving or facing an OCD attack at work, you can find a sense of control by focusing on sight, sounds, and touch.

Furthermore, you can reduce anxiety signs by following a healthy lifestyle. Moving your body and prioritizing a healthy diet are two key ways of managing anxiety. Limiting alcohol and caffeine is beneficial, as these products can make your anxiety worse.

Seek support from your doctor if you are constantly struggling with intrusive thoughts. The 333 rule for anxiety can help temporarily manage symptoms, but it is not a cure for anxiety disorder. Your doctor may prescribe medication or recommend therapy for long-term management.


Coping with anxiety isn’t easy, but it’s worth finding a practice to help reduce your symptoms in the moment. Paying attention to your environment by picking out things within your vision and hearing range can focus your brain and help you move away from overwhelming thoughts.

Next time you feel anxious, try the 333 rule to induce calmness and alter your mindset.

Written by Edibel Quintero, RD
Edibel Quintero is a medical doctor who graduated in 2013 from the University of Zulia and has been working in her profession since then. She specializes in obesity and nutrition, physical rehabilitation, sports massage and post-operative rehabilitation. Edibel’s goal is to help people live healthier lives by educating them about food, exercise, mental wellness and other lifestyle choices that can improve their quality of life.
The article was fact checked by Rosmy Barrios, MD
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Written by Edibel Quintero, RD
Fact checked by Rosmy Barrios, MD
Last update: October 10, 2023
3 min read 1127 Views 0 Comments

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