Nearly 7% of the adult population has experienced depression. Additionally, anxiety affects even more Americans, with 18% reporting they have experienced a prevalence of symptoms in the past year. According to the latest data, depression and anxiety in the U.S. costs society roughly $210 billion on a yearly basis. While we can tangibly quantify the costs of these conditions with dollars and cents, it is no secret that there are many other costs associated with these ailments. So, what can we do at home to mitigate the symptoms and hopefully see these numbers decrease?
Acupuncture is a simple and easy way to help improve your overall health, and has been linked to providing some relief from feelings of depression and anxiety. While we think this is one approach that should be considered, we understand that not everyone has the time or money to commit to an acupuncture treatment. But, there is an alternative: acupressure.
By pressing down on certain points on your body, your mood can lift and help you get back to your day. Instead of other indulgences that may provide a momentary spike in mood, try these acupressure points in order to turn a bad day into a good one without spending a dime!
GV20, Governing Vessel 20 and YIntang (Third Eye Point)
Take your pointer and middle fingers and press directly on the crown of your head, and also between your eyebrows at the same time. According to TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine) by pressing these two points at the same time, you’re helping give your body clarity, inducing a sense of calm, and boost your mood. This can also help to clear your sinuses, providing an overall opening both emotionally and physically. Apply pressure on these points for two to three minutes and feel the positive effects.
GV17, Governing Vessel 17
On the back of your head, this pressure point is above the midpoint of the back hair line, in the depression on the upper border of the external occipital protuberance. Take two fingers and gently apply pressure for three minutes. Known as the “brain’s door,” this is a great way to promote a more relaxed breathing and to quell your anxieties. This can easily be done at your desk at work in the privacy of your cubicle.
HT7, Heart 7
When this point, found on the wrist, is stimulated, worry and anxiety will slip away. It’s located where your arm meets your hand, on the side toward your pinkie, in the middle of the ulna and the pisiform bones. With firm pressure, press in a downward motion. Hold this for a minute or two to release pressures that you didn't realize were present. It’ll take the edge off a rough day, and give you a more positive outlook.
LU 1, Lung 1
To find this point, cross your arms in an X across your chest and let your arms fall naturally. Firmly push where your fingers land on your ribcage, on the outer portion of the chest, below the collarbone. Pressing these two points at the same time is called the “Letting Go” point. It helps you open up your chest and breathe more deeply, and will help you to release any anxiety and negative feelings that you are experiencing. As the emotions leave your body, you’ll automatically begin to feel your mood lift. Doing this a few times a day can help to improve your attitude throughout the day as well as give you a moment to stop and breathe.
The next time you feel that you are leaving your happy place, spend a couple of minutes with yourself. Take a couple of deep breaths and use these acupressure points. It’s a painless and free way to relieve stress quickly.