Since taking an immersion course in anatomy this past weekend at yoga therapy training, I have been very curious about the hands and the power that resides in the tips of our fingers. And I don't mean snapping!
I am talking about how our fingertips can literally calm our nervous systems to reduce stress and create calm.
There are millions of nerve endings in our fingertips and toes, all of which communicate with the central nervous system. Without getting too scientific, the sympathetic nervous system allows us to respond quickly when there's a threat. When the parasympathetic nervous system is aroused, however, it produces a feeling of relaxation and calm in the mind and the body.
Most of us live in a high-alert state all the time. We live fast-paced lives characterized my too much multitasking and not enough rest and relaxation. We are bombarded by stimuli and endure immense pressures. As a result, our sympathetic nervous systems are on overdrive, and we exist in a constant state of intense stress and burnout.
At the anatomy training, I experienced firsthand a way we can calm our minds and bodies, and all that is required are our hands. Rather than tell you about my experience and what I felt, I will tell you how to experience it for yourself in three easy steps:
1. Bring awareness to your hand(s).
2. Soften your hand(s). Let your hand(s) be light and take it's natural shape. Your hand(s) will naturally have a soft cup shape to it.
3. Ever so gently rub the tip of your thumb back and forth over each of your fingertips, spending a good 30 to 60 seconds (longer if you have time) with each finger.
The simple rubbing action will calm your nervous system, which will translate out through your body and mind. You might even become so relaxed that you could drift off to sleep. It really is AMAZING!
I've been experimenting with variations of and practical uses for this technique. For example, I've gently tapped my fingertips on the steering wheel when in traffic, on the table during an uncomfortable conversation, and on my yoga mat while holding dolphin plank (which is really hard!) to keep from tensing up.
Give this simple technique a try. The moment you feel your shoulders tense up, your neck stiffen, your gut tighten, or you hold your breath, try gently rubbing your thumb against your fingers or softly tap your fingers on a surface or another part of your body.
Considering our hands go wherever we do, the opportunities to finds pockets of reprieve from stress and tension are available to us. We do not need to look outside of ourselves for quick fixes and remedies. We can call on our bodies' innate powers to soothe and heal.
I would love to know how this stress-calming technique worked for you. Please share in the comments!
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