Stress is part of everyday life. Getting the kids off to school, meeting a project deadline at work, taking an exam at school, having an argument with a loved one—these are things everyone experiences and are usually manageable. Stress levels vary from person to person but chronic stress is hazardous to anyone’s health. That’s why stress relief is so important.
Chronic stress affects literally every cell in your body and can lead to serious illness. Regularly alleviating stress is critical for health and living at your best. The physical benefits of stress relief run very deep.
Exercise, listening to music or playing an instrument, spending time in nature, yoga, gardening, massage, a hot bath, hanging out with friends, and enjoying a quiet cup of tea are all simple ways to reduce anxiety and stress.
All Natural Relief
Natural stress relief is always preferable to pharmaceuticals, alcohol, or smoking because it promotes well-being rather than further compromising it.
There are pressure points in the hand that, when massaged, release tension and stress and relieve pain (1). This is the core concept of acupressure, reflexology, and massage.
In ancient Japanese tradition, the energy of stress in its many forms can be accessed through the hand. Each finger corresponds to an emotion. The following self-relaxation reflexology technique addresses these negative energies one at a time, releasing them from the body and mind.
It can be done anywhere at any time, as many times as you like.
- Thumb: reduce worry and anxiety
- Index: overcome fear
- Middle: control anger and frustration
- Ring: relieve sadness and depression
- Pinky: stimulate self-esteem and general outlook
Natural Stress Relief Through Japanese Hand Self-massage
Here’s how to how to naturally reduce stress by simply using your hands.
Concentrate on each finger for 1-2 minutes.
- Open your hand with fingers spread but relaxed. Beginning with your thumb, grasp the sides of the tip on either side of the nail and pinch with slight pressure. Move slowly down the thumb toward the palm, gently squeezing the sides until you feel the pulse. Pause in each position, allowing your mind to focus only on release before moving to the index finger and so on. End the massage with slight pressure applied to the center of the palm with the opposite thumb. Hold for 1 minute or more.
- There is a pressure point between the thumb and index finger, located in the muscle just above the base of the thumb where the bones from the thumb and those of the index finger meet. Many nerves run through this muscle, joining the hand to the rest of the body. Relieving tension there is felt throughout the body, including the head, neck, and back, promoting a general feeling of well-being. Squeeze the muscle with the thumb and forefinger of the opposite hand and massage for as long as you like.
- The inner wrist holds a pressure point as well, where the bones of the hand and arm meet. Applying gentle pressure there is said to help release negative thoughts and emotions. You may feel a tingling or slight numbness with the pressure.
- On the opposite side of the hand at the outer wrist, where the bone of the arm meets the bones of the hand, is a little indentation. Apply pressure to this point to foster relaxation and mental clarity.
Other simple, quick self-massage techniques to restore balance and release stress are in the video below: