Decompression Session: Pressure Points

Sometimes you don’t have a lot of time to de-stress. You need a quick fix. There’s actually some tried science behind pressure points you can apply to yourself that can have an almost instant relaxing effect. Here are a few to keep in your pocket when you just need to chill, just a little. Some of these techniques are also thought to help with headaches, menstrual cramps, and other common things that can interfere with your work and wellbeing.

Most of these only take a few seconds. And they have all been around awhile – we didn’t invent them – but for fun, we gave them names.

  1. Face It: This one’s pretty intuitive. We tend to pinch our upper nose or rub our temples to calm the mind or distract ourselves from a headache. This one’s slightly different. The pressure point you want to target is directly between your eyebrows, and you can use a thumb or finger to apply some pressure to that point. So use your digit of choice to press on that spot and close your eyes. Then create a firm circular motion for, ideally, at least five minutes.
  2. Ears to Lobes: There’s some belief and evidence that stimulating your ears (gently) can calm your lobes. Not the ear lobes – the brain ones. At the top of your ear, below the ridge, a subtle pinch and circular motion may create a greater sense of calm. It makes sense: Noise is stressful, and your ears are the gatekeepers to that stress. Give them a small massage – they’ve earned it.
  3. The Thumb Bucket: This is that sort of batwing-shaped spot between your thumb and your pointer finger. It’s what gives us the opposable thumb! And it deserves a little massage, too. Here’s what to do: use your other hand to give that spot a pinch and hold it for a few. It might be a little uncomfortable, but it’s just for a few seconds. Breathe. Then give yourself a thumbs up.
  4. Wristy Business: This one’s just a little more complicated, because it’s recommended you target a very specific part of the lower arm. Measure three fingers (not scotch, inner wrist!) and press gently between your tendons for a few seconds. There’s some theory that this can induce labor so if you’re pregnant, skip this one.

As with anything, use what works for you. Anxiety on the job is inevitable, and not everything works for everyone. But a few innocuous options are good to have in your toolkit for getting through class, or shift, or even a social situation. See you at the next Decompression Session!

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