For those of you who know me it might come as no great shock when I tell you … I’m slightly stressed out. For those of you who don’t know me—I’m always stressed out. It’s only the degree of stress that fluctuates. My stress scale varies from slightly stressed to freakishly-unmanageable (usually overly- exaggerated) stressed. However, even at the highest 8-pointer on my Richter-stress scale, someone always out does me. I’m not going to lie, this comforts me. Sorry 10-pointers. To make us all feel better—from the 1-pointers to the 10-pointers, I’d like to offer some stress-relieving techniques via an “Acupressure Points (Needle-Less) Acupuncture” worksheet I recently acquired.
For those techniques you may find too difficult or time-consuming to apply I have provided a few of my own modifications and alternatives. Disclaimer: I’m not a doctor, shrink, guru, massage therapist, transcendentalist or anything else particularly exciting (other than self-diagnosed hypochondriac-ADD-caffeine-riddled-free- spirit type). Enjoy.
*These are considered points for relieving traumatic stress, anxiety, and panic:
1. Letting go: Cross your arms over the chest center. Place your fingertips firmly on both sides of your outer chest. Breathe deeply and hold these points for about two minutes.
I simply call this “Avoidance:” Take a paper bag and put it over your head. Breathe as deeply as possible. If your bag begins to make a crunching noise (further increasing your feeling of panic)--stop breathing. Or, if time permits, cut a whole where your mouth is. Stay under bag until you have replaced whatever stressed you out in the first place with the stress of paper-bag claustrophobia.
2. Gates of Consciousness: With your thumbs, press underneath the base of the skull into the indentions on both sides. Close your eyes and slowly tilt your head back. Visualize this mental balancing point relieving your panic and anxiety as you gently press up underneath your skull for one to two minutes.
Unconsciousness: Take your thumbs and use them to propel your head into a wall. Repeat until stress or consciousness has been temporarily alleviated.
3. Sea of Tranquility: Gently press the base of the sternum with the middle three fingertips. At the same time, concentrate as you take deep, slow breaths into your heart for three minutes.
See Jane Spin: Go to spin class and place your fingertips lightly on the resistance wheel. Pretend to crank it up. Take deep fake breaths and occasionally pat your heart to indicate to fellow spinners how hard you’re working out. Post-class make sure to pour your water bottle on yourself when no one’s looking. Be sure to say aloud, “I definitely earned a double-chocolate-mocha frappuccino and scone.”
4. Interrupt a Panic Attack: Hold the base of the middle fingernail firmly against the thumb of the same hand. Take long, slow, deep breaths for three minutes.
Exchange Panic Attack for Snack Attack: Go to the pantry. Use any of your fingers to grab food that is bad for you. Eat it. If you can, try to breathe too.
5. Inner Mind: Place the right thumb on the point on the left arm. Wrap your fingertips around the outside of the arm and place them directly behind your thumb.Or
Inner (Bed) Sheet: Slide your bed cover off. Get under your top sheet and wrap yourself in it. Stick both arms up in the air and scream. Take Advil PM and face your stress the following day.