With an election afoot, holidays approaching, and an ever-present pandemic, perhaps your nerves or anxiety levels are a bit higher than you could have ever imagined or expected. I know that mine are. As someone who has managed and coped with my own anxiety for many years, I know that outside stressors like all of the things mentioned above along with so many other elements can impact how anxiety creeps into my life.

Something that keeps me from letting it get too far, is knowing that anxiety is one of those things that can be managed by naturally increasing GABA (a neurotransmitter that is released in the brain to help us calm down). Unlike other neurotransmitters, GABA can be easily released without much chemical help. I have found a few things to be helpful and if you are interested in ways to quell anxiety when it comes into your life, here are some tips below!

Please note that if you are being treated and have been diagnosed with anxiety or any form of anxiety disorder, please continue your treatment or psychotropic medication as prescribed. These are merely a few suggestions to manage anxiety in the moment from a mental health professional’s and anxiety experiencer’s lens.


Ground yourself:

If you’re able to either get outside or find a comfortable space in your home, go for it. Physically planting your feet on the ground and getting your body into a comfortable position can do wonders for redirecting your mind from a nervous state to the beginning of a relaxation state. Before jumping into anything else, ground your body.


Take a mindful moment:

Much like grounding, stepping away from whatever present situation you might be in when nervousness sneaks in, can be so beneficial in redirecting anxious energy. If you are able to take even five minutes away in a comfortable space, it can do wonders.

It can be important to take the time to check in with yourself and what you might need in that moment. Sometimes anxiety or nervousness is a way for your brain to communicate that you might be missing a basic need. Perhaps you are feeling unsafe, tired, or even hungry! So being able to check in with what your body might need may help give the anxiety what it needs to disappear.

A way to do that can be through meditation, prayer, journaling, noticing the things for which you are grateful, taking a few cleansing breaths, or whatever activity you might do visit with yourself. If you need some help getting in that space, Jubilance offers a guided meditation just for this moment! You can click here to check it out. :)


Check back in with your senses:

Much like in the meditation exercise linked above, checking back to your basic senses can bring you to the present moment. This can ultimately bring you back to that grounded space and can help you be present. It’s as easy as 5-4-3-2-1. Think of five things you hear around you, four things you see, three things you feel, two things you hear, and one thing you taste. Much like the other exercises, this will help bring your body to the present and will communicate to your anxiety that it is time to leave.


I hope that whenever anxiety comes to visit in your life, you can tackle it however you need.

About the author

Becca is a registered Marriage and Family Therapist Associate who gives us her expert perspective on Emotional Health and Wellness. She holds an M.A in Education with an emphasis in Counseling as well as an M.S. in Counseling with an emphasis in Marriage and Family Therapy from San Diego State University.  Each month she writes about mental health and how to feel your best!
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