A smooth small stone with a thumb indent - who would have thought such a simple object could bring so much soothing energy? The worry stone has been around for centuries and is no new fad. These flat stones are known for bringing anxiety relief and self-soothing during times of heightened stress - hence the name. Worry stones can also be called pocket stones, palm stones, and other names. Thumb stones, or worry stones as they are better known, are often carved from crystals or polished gemstones, and these stones are usually from precious stones chosen for their healing properties. The idea behind the worry stone is to rub it between your forefinger and thumb or to fidget with the stone when feeling nervous or overwhelmed.
The act of rubbing the stone works with acupressure which stimulates certain pressure points connected to meridians. This then sends calming messages to the brain and allows happy hormones to be released, which can bring us back into balance. These palm stones can also be rubbed while chanting mantras or during meditation to still and soothe the mind.
The history of worry stones
The history of worry stones isn't clear-cut, but they have been traced back to Ancient Greece, Ireland, North America, and Tibet. They were commonly used in folk practices, and odds are - they were used similarly to how we use them today - as a physical touchpoint for letting go of our worries and anxieties. In Ancient Greece, the earliest worry stones or palm stones would have been shaped by the sea. Today, worry stones can be shaped by nature or human hands.
The shape of a worry stone & materials
Generally, worry stones share one main characteristic - a flat stone that can fit in the palm of your hand. These stones tend to be oval-shaped and will fit comfortably between the forefinger and thumb - maybe 2-3 cm long and a centimeter or so thick - although there's no exact science to this. The smooth stone will be polished or made from tumbled crystal so you can run your fingers across it without any roughness. Some types of worry stone also come with a thumb-shaped indent. Not just a sensory stone, worry stones are often made from healing crystals or gemstones that bring dedicated physical, emotional, and spiritual healing benefits to the table.
What are the benefits?
There are many amazing benefits to choosing a pocket stone or palm stone. Not only is there a psychological benefit to having a ready-made anxiety tool tucked away in your pocket, but the properties of worry stones can be as simple as providing a pleasant and soothing sensation when touched, which can distract a busy or spiraling mind. Here are some more benefits of having a calming crystal shaped into a worry stone...
Anxiety relief - the sensory and psychological association of the worry stone can help alleviate anxiety and stress as they provide a physical touchstone for shifting energy.
Getting grounded - another way of using the worry stone is when you want to get grounded. Having a physical object that you can see and touch is a great way of coming back to the present moment.
Endorphin release - turning the stone over in your hand can trigger a pressure point response which sends signals to the brain and allows for the release of endorphins.
Worry distraction - just like popular fidget spinners or fidget toys, the act of having something to do with your hands has been found to distract the body and the mind. This can be truly useful when dealing with constant worry, as it can give your mind and nervous system a much-needed break.
Avoidance of bad habits - having a worry stone can also provide instant distraction when it comes to bad habits. Whether it's reaching for a cigarette when you are trying to quit or indulging in negative thought patterns, by turning your attention instead to the worry stone, you can break the habit cycle.
How to Use a Worry Stone
- Choose a stone you love and one that resonates with you. You can pick certain crystal gemstones that call to you and bring other healing benefits.
- Hold the stone in your hand and close your eyes. Pay attention to the weight of the stone, the temperature, and other sensory elements that come to mind. Take as long as you need on this step but a minimum of a minute.
- Move the stone in your hand using your palm and your fingers in whatever way feels comfortable. If your stone has a thumb indent, you can rub your thumb across it. You can also use this moment to tune into other sensations along with touch - such as the sound the stone in your hand makes, as this will welcome another grounding element.
- You can also open your eyes and look at the stone carefully as you turn it in your hand. Look at the light and the colors and seek out lines or marks - this brings in your visual sense and another element of gorgeous grounding.
- Finally, bring your attention back to the feel of the stone.
- You can also weave in deep breathing exercises, chants, and mantras throughout this process.
Here are some other ways in which you can use your pocket stone.
When you're feeling stressed
Whether you are having a moment of stress or feeling completely overwhelmed, this is the perfect moment to pick up your palm or pocket stone and play with it. Feel its comforting weight, let its smooth texture soothe you, and get those endorphins firing.
When you're having an anxiety/panic attack
Anti-anxiety crystal worry stones can be a great tool to have close - especially if you are prone to anxiety or panic attacks. Not only will the physical element and grounding properties of the worry stone bring you back to your body, but it can be a comfort. It may even be a preventative tool for panic attacks, as the comfort of having it close can stop the mind from going into overdrive.
Worry stones and palm stones work well with meditative practices. You can use it in a similar way to using a mala - in which you repeat a mantra or chant with every rub of the stone. This method can quiet the mind, build intention into your practice, and reduce any distractions. You can also pick worry stones from certain crystals or chakra stones to align with your body's natural energy.
For many people, it can be tricky to surrender to softness and sleep - this is where a worry stone can help. By turning your worry stone in your hand as part of your bedtime routine or even when lying down, you can lull the mind into rest.
If you find it difficult to stay grounded during challenging conversations (losing your cool or struggling to stand up for yourself, a worry stone may be a great help. The act of having the stone close by can make you more mindful, and by spending a second or two rubbing it and connecting with it before responding, you can nurture a more mindful conversation.
Carry it with you everywhere
The very act of having a worry stone or pocket stone on your person is one of the simplest ways to stay connected and set intentions. We can also be passive in our meditative practice and spirituality - it doesn't need to be all yang energy and 'doing.' By having a worry stone with you, you can make a yin act of passive spirituality and let this all-purpose anxiety stone work its magic.
Do Worry Stones Work?
Yes, worry stones work on a physical, emotional, and spiritual level. The act of rubbing a worry stone can help ease muscle tension and can create a calming association in the body and the brain. It works emotionally as it can serve as a welcome routine or distraction from anxious thinking. As worry stones are often made from high vibrational crystals - they also bring spiritual benefits too.
Best Gemstones to Use
There are many different kinds of authentic crystal stones that work wonders when turned into worry stones. But according to our crystal experts, certain gems may be more adept than others when alleviating anxious thinking and encouraging a calmer and more balanced state of mind. Here are some of the best gemstones to use as worry stones.
- Rose Quartz
- Lapis Lazuli
- Smokey Quartz
- Clear Quartz
- Black Tourmaline
- Tiger Eye
- Rainbow Fluorite
How do worry stones work?
Worry stones work by holding the smooth polished stone between your forefinger and thumb and rubbing your thumb across it. This action is believed to stimulate nerve endings and pressure points, which send signals to the brain and help release endorphins.
What is the best stone for a worry stone?
Many healing crystals work well as worry stones. Some of our favorites include amethyst for its soothing energy, rose quartz for its loving vibrations, citrine for its positive impact, a red jasper palm stone for comfort, or even a chakra worry stone made up of different bands of crystal, each reflecting a certain chakra in the body.
Why is it called a worry stone?
Worry stones are called worry stones because they tend to be used as a tool that helps with anxiety relief. The motion of rubbing or holding a worry stone can be used to bring comfort, distract the mind, and help you to let go of anxious thoughts and feelings.
What are worry stones made out of?
Worry stones are usually made from healing crystals or gemstones, although they can also be crafted from other materials like wood, marble, rock, glass, or ceramic. Smooth crystals and tumbled gemstones are best as they have the right texture and other healing properties.