Three, Two, One: A Self Regulation Strategy

Adults can feel dysregulated just like children can. Let's take a look at a self-regulation strategy that adults can use anytime they are feeling dysregulated. The strategy is called: Three, Two, One.

By Momentous Institute | Sep 23, 2021
Three Two One Self Regulation Strategy

We talk a lot about self-regulation when it comes to children, as they frequently become dysregulated and need to manage their emotions. However, adults need self-regulation as well! Getting older doesn’t mean that never feel dysregulated again. In fact, most of us can remember a time in the past week when we needed to take a moment to regulate our emotions and return to calm. Because most of us lead busy lives, it can be hard to take the time we need to self-regulate. So, to help, here’s a quick self-regulation strategy that you can use anywhere at any time. It’s called: Three, Two, One.  

The 'Three, Two, One’ strategy is a simple way for you pause and focus on what is around you. When you are feeling dysregulated, pause for a moment and focus on:  

Three things you can hear. 

Two things you can see.  

One thing you can touch or feel. 

Doing this simple activity gives your brain a moment to focus on something other than what is causing you to feel dysregulated. Giving your brain a chance to do a quick “reset” will allow you to return to calm in order to deal with the situation.  

A few quick notes: 

You can use any three senses as part of your countdown. We even recommend that you tailor the countdown to your needs in the moment. If you are feeling visually overwhelmed, consider closing your eyes and choosing three senses that are not related to sight.  

This strategy is also great to use when you just need a brain break. If you are working hard on a project and you start to feel that 'everything is starting to run together’ feeling, take a quick brain break and use the ‘Three, Two, One’ strategy.  

To help you remember this strategy, we’ve created a reminder that you can color and cut out