A Quick and Easy Way To De-Stress

Here is a simple relaxation exercise you can do while riding the bus or train to work, taking a break at work or school, sitting with your morning coffee, or as you are falling asleep at night.

You can do it quickly if you need to or take your time and savor the experience.

Where this exercise originated is unclear but it is offered on a University of Chicago student services page as a way of de-stressing before an exam. It’s called the five finger relaxation technique. The recommendation is to do it while sitting comfortably with both feet on the floor, hands in the lap. However, it works when you are comfortably curled up in a chair as well.

Five Finger Relaxation Technique

It takes five fingers to do this exercise, but there are only four steps.

Touch the tip of your index finger with your thumb. While doing so, think back to when you had just enjoyed a healthy physical activity, were pleasantly tired and felt great simultaneously. Maybe you finished a hike or a bike ride or competed in a soccer match or swim meet. Enjoy the memory and the feeling.

Touch the end of your middle finger with your thumb. Think back to a moment or experience that was loving in nature. This could be the thought of a family gathering or an intimate moment with a friend, child, or partner. Let yourself enjoy the warmth of the memory.


Now, touch your fourth or ring finger with your thumb. This time, think of the best compliment anyone has given you. Even if you had trouble accepting the compliment then, open to it now and enjoy being appreciated. You can even send silent appreciation back to the person(s) who gave you the compliment.

Finally, touch your little finger with your thumb. Think of the most lovely place you have been to and enjoy it again. Imagine not only the sights but also the sounds, smells, tastes, and textures associated with this place. Breathe deeply of the beauty.

Photo: Pixabay

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