There’s a pressure point known to acupuncturists as the Pericardium 8 (aka the Palace of Anxiety) in the center of your palm; it’s about an inch below the base of your pointer and middle fingers close to where the lines on many people’s palms meet. This spot helps regulate circulation in the major blood vessels that run in and out of the heart, says Kelly Baker, regional manager of The Spa at Equinox in New York City.
“Massaging this point has a powerful influence on your mental and emotional states,” Baker explains. “It can create feelings of joy or pleasure, calm the mind and body, and bring awareness to your breath, helping you inhale and exhale more deeply.” In fact, we naturally, unconsciously touch this spot in times of stress when we wring our hands.
This technique comes from Shiatsu, a form of Japanese bodywork therapy that involves activating pressure points to encourage the flow of Qi, or energy, through the body.
When you’re feeling anxious, press your right thumb onto the Palace of Anxiety on your left hand, then close your left hand around your thumb. Hold for a count of 10 or until your anxiety subsides, then repeat on the other hand.