4 Effective Techniques To Relieve Anxiety In The Present Moment

4 Effective Techniques To Relieve Anxiety In The Present Moment
Photo by Josiah Farrow / Unsplash

Anxiety, a natural response to stress, can become problematic when it's persistent and intense, affecting daily life.

  • Meditation: Mindfulness meditation focuses on the present moment, reducing stress and improving emotional regulation.
  • Breathwork: Controlled breathing exercises like the 4-7-8 method provide immediate relief by regulating the body's stress response.
  • Journaling: Acts as a therapeutic outlet for processing emotions, helping to understand and manage anxious thoughts.
  • Walking: Regular walks, especially in nature, boost mood-enhancing endorphins and offer a meditative break from daily stressors.

Understanding and effectively managing anxiety is crucial for maintaining mental health and well-being. Techniques presented in this article presents accessible tools that offer significant relief from anxiety, contributing to a more balanced and resilient life.

man wearing white top using MacBook
Photo by Tim Gouw / Unsplash

The purpose of this article is to promote awareness, education, and support for individuals of all ages dealing with various mental health issues, such as anxiety, depression, generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), ADHD, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and cancer-related depression.

This article aims to unravel the complexities of anxiety, exploring its nature, impact, and the transformative power of mindfulness as a remedy, and provides 4 techniques to relieve anxiety in the present moment (right now).

person standing on rock raising both hands
Photo by Xan Griffin / Unsplash

4 Effective Techniques To Relieve Anxiety In The Present Moment

In today’s fast-paced world, anxiety has emerged as a silent shadow affecting millions globally. At its core, anxiety is a natural and often necessary emotional response to perceived threats, serving as a critical survival mechanism honed through evolution. It gears up the body for action, heightening awareness and preparing for challenges; however, when this primal response lingers persistently, disproportionate to the actual threat, it morphs into a debilitating problem, overshadowing daily life and diminishing one’s quality of life.

The transition of anxiety from a helpful alert system to a chronic condition often hinges on sustained stress, unprocessed traumas, or lifestyle factors. In a world where the pace of life and complexity of challenges only seem to grow, understanding when anxiety becomes pathological is vital. As we delve into the intricate world of anxiety disorders, lights of hope shines through the fog: mindfulness meditation, journaling, meditation, and breathwork. These simple, yet profound practices offers a powerful tool in the combat against anxiety, helping individuals anchor themselves in the present moment and break the cycle of perpetual worry.

Key Mental Health Statistics

  • According to the World Health Organization (WHO), anxiety disorders are the most common mental disorders globally, with an estimated 264 million people affected by anxiety disorders in 2015.
  • Anxiety affects 19 million adults per year in the U.S.
  • GAD affects 6.8 million adults or 3.1% of the U.S. population, yet only 43.2% are receiving treatment.
  • Women are twice as likely to be affected as men.
  • Anxiety disorders are highly prevalent among children and adolescents. The National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) reports that an estimated 31.9% of adolescents had an anxiety disorder.
  • Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) and posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) are closely related to anxiety disorders, which some may experience at the same time, along with depression.
black ipad on white table
Photo by Nik / Unsplash

Anxiety Explained

Anxiety is a normal and often adaptive response to perceived threats or stressors, characterized by feelings of worry, nervousness, or unease. It involves a complex interplay of biological, psychological, and environmental factors, with a key role played by the brain's amygdala and prefrontal cortex in processing and regulating anxious feelings. Physiologically, anxiety triggers the sympathetic nervous system, leading to a 'fight or flight' response, marked by increased heart rate, respiration, and cortisol levels; however, when anxiety becomes chronic or excessive, it can manifest as an anxiety disorder, impacting daily functioning and quality of life.

Effective Ways to Relieve Anxiety


Writing in a journal allows for the expression of thoughts and emotions that you might not feel comfortable sharing with others. This can be a safe way to release pent-up feelings and reduce internal stress. Furthermore, a journal promotes organization and mental clarity of goals, work tasks, intentions, household responsibilities, and other daily tasks.

Journaling also encourages mindfulness. Focusing on the present moment while writing can be a calming exercise, and it promotes awareness of your mental and emotional state. Also, the act of writing itself can be cathartic. It's a way of letting go of negative emotions and clearing your mind.

A simple and effective journaling technique for relieving anxiety is the "Three-Part Journaling Method." This technique is straightforward and can be done daily. Here’s how it works:

  1. Write Down Your Worries: Start by writing down everything that is causing you anxiety. Don't worry about organizing your thoughts; just let them flow onto the page. This step is about acknowledging your feelings and fears.
  2. Reflect on Gratitude: Shift your focus to things you are grateful for. Write down at least three things, big or small, that you appreciate in your life right now. This helps to balance your perspective and brings attention to the positive aspects of your day.
  3. Plan and Positive Affirmation: End your journaling session by writing down one or two things you can do to address the worries you've listed, even if it’s a small step. Then, write a positive affirmation or a statement that encourages a positive outlook for your day. This could be something like, "I am capable of handling my challenges," or "Each day, I am making progress towards peace and calm."
aerial photography of trees
Photo by Artem Sapegin / Unsplash


Deep, controlled breathing activates the parasympathetic nervous system, which is responsible for the 'rest and digest' response. This counters the 'fight or flight' response triggered by the sympathetic nervous system, which is often overactive in anxiety. Breathwork often involves rhythmic or patterned breathing, which can have a meditative effect. Focusing on the breath can bring about a state of mindfulness, where you become more aware of the present moment.

Sometimes breathwork can lead to emotional release, allowing individuals to process and release pent-up emotions that may be contributing to anxiety. Deep breathing also increases the oxygen supply to your brain and stimulates the lymphatic system, which helps in detoxifying the body. More oxygen and less toxicity can lead to improved mood and reduced anxiety. Controlled breathing also helps relax tense muscles and promotes physical relaxation.

A simple and effective breathwork technique for relieving anxiety is the "4-7-8 Breathing Exercise," also known as the "Relaxing Breath." This technique is easy to learn and can be practiced almost anywhere. Here’s how to do it:

  1. Find a Comfortable Position: Sit or lie down in a comfortable position. Close your eyes if it helps you concentrate.
  2. Focus on Your Breath: Pay attention to your natural breathing pattern for a few breaths, noticing how your chest and abdomen move with each breath.
  3. Inhale for 4 Seconds: Inhale quietly through your nose for a count of four. Try to breathe into your belly rather than your chest.
  4. Hold Your Breath for 7 Seconds: Hold your breath for a count of seven. If holding your breath for this long is uncomfortable, you can adjust the time, but keep the ratio of 4:7:8.
  5. Exhale for 8 Seconds: Exhale completely through your mouth, making a whoosh sound, for a count of eight. Again, adjust the time if needed but maintain the ratio.
  6. Repeat the Cycle: Repeat this cycle for four full breaths. Gradually, as you become more practiced, you can increase the number of cycles.
person doing meditation pose
Photo by Max / Unsplash


Research has shown that meditation can change certain brain regions linked to anxiety; for example, it enhances the gray matter in areas of the brain responsible for self-awareness, compassion, and introspection. Some forms of meditation help you develop a greater understanding of yourself, helping you grow into your best self. This increased self-awareness can be helpful in identifying anxious thoughts and patterns.

Many forms of meditation encourage mindfulness, which involves staying focused on the present moment. This practice can help you become more aware of your thoughts and feelings and learn to observe them without judgment. Meditation also boosts concentration and can lead to an improved self-image and a more positive outlook on life.

A simple and effective meditation technique for relieving anxiety is "Mindfulness Meditation with Focused Breathing." Here’s how to do it:

  1. Find a Quiet Space: Choose a quiet and comfortable place where you won’t be disturbed. You can sit in a chair with your feet flat on the ground, sit cross-legged on the floor, or lie down.
  2. Set a Time Limit: 5-10 minutes.
  3. Focus on Your Breath: Close your eyes and turn your attention to your breath. Notice the sensation of air entering your nostrils and leaving your mouth, or your belly rising and falling as you inhale and exhale.
  4. Be Kind to Your Wandering Mind: Don’t judge yourself or obsess over the content of the thoughts you find yourself lost in. Just come back to your breathing.
  5. Close with Gratitude: When your time is up, open your eyes. Take a moment to notice any sounds in the environment. Notice how your body feels right now. Notice your thoughts and emotions. Conclude your session with a sense of gratitude for taking this time for yourself.
person in black jacket and brown pants standing on beach during daytime
Photo by Ihor N / Unsplash

Go For A Walk

Regular physical activity is known to decrease overall levels of tension, elevate mood, and improve sleep and self-esteem. Walking, especially in nature, can promote a state of mindfulness. Paying attention to the sights, sounds, and smells around you can keep you grounded in the present moment, reducing worries about the past or future. Walking also allows you to change your surroundings, which can help break the cycle of anxious thoughts. A new environment provides new stimuli for your senses.

Walking alone can provide valuable time for self-reflection and solitude, while walking with friends offers social support and a healthy distraction from anxious thoughts. If you walk outside during daylight, the sunlight can help regulate your natural circadian rhythms and increase the synthesis of Vitamin D and serotonin, which has been linked to mood regulation. Regular walking, especially in the morning or afternoon, can also improve sleep quality, which aids in anxiety management.

A simple and effective walking technique to relieve anxiety is "Mindful Walking." This approach combines the physical benefits of walking with the mental benefits of mindfulness. Here’s how to practice Mindful Walking:

  1. Start with a Purpose: Begin your walk with the intention of being present and mindful. Acknowledge that this walk is for your mental well-being.
  2. Focus on Your Senses: As you walk, pay attention to your senses. Notice the sights, sounds, and smells around you. Feel the breeze on your skin, the sun's warmth, or the ground beneath your feet.
  3. Mindful Breathing: Coordinate your breathing with your steps. For example, inhale for three steps and exhale for three steps. This helps to maintain a rhythm and keeps your focus on the present moment.
  4. Acknowledge Your Thoughts: When you notice your mind wandering to anxious thoughts, acknowledge them, and then gently bring your attention back to your walk and breathing. The aim is not to have a blank mind, but to be aware of your thoughts and not get entangled in them.
  5. Gratitude: Towards the end of your walk, think of a few things you are grateful for. This can shift your mind from anxiety to a state of appreciation and positivity.
  6. Reflect on the Experience: After your walk, spend a few minutes reflecting on the experience. How do you feel physically and mentally?
white clouds and blue sky during daytime
Photo by Em bé khóc nhè / Unsplash

Final Thoughts

Anxiety is a complex and multifaceted emotional response that serves as an inherent survival mechanism, yet it can escalate into a pervasive issue affecting millions globally. Its transition from a natural protective reaction to a chronic, debilitating condition often occurs when the frequency and intensity of anxiety become disproportionate to the actual challenges faced, impeding daily functioning and overall quality of life. The pervasive nature of anxiety disorders not only reflects a significant public health concern, but also underscores the necessity for effective management strategies.

As we navigate the complexities of the modern world, recognizing and addressing anxiety becomes crucial. By integrating practices like journaling, breathwork, meditation, and walking into our routines, we not only manage the symptoms of anxiety, but also enhance our capacity for resilience, self-awareness, and emotional balance. These approaches, rooted in both tradition and science, offer a beacon of hope, guiding us towards a more centered and peaceful existence amidst the inevitable ebbs and flows of life.

Thank you for reading this article.


This content is for informational and educational purposes only. It is not intended to provide medical advice or to take the place of such advice or treatment from a personal physician. All readers/viewers of this content are advised to consult their doctors or qualified health professionals regarding specific health questions. All viewers of this content, especially those taking prescription or over-the-counter medications, should consult their physicians before beginning any nutrition, supplement or lifestyle program.