Worry stones, sometimes called “pocket tranquilizers,” have been used since the beginning of humankind (yes, anxiety is that old). Ancient Greeks used Palm Stones, smoothed by the sea and Komboloi, which are worry beads, similar to rosary beads used in Catholicism or Mala beads used in Buddhism. Many Native American cultures considered stones sacred—especially quartz—which was thought to have the power to remove negativity. Tribespeople from all over the world have passed stone bundles down from generation to generation in order to promote healing and peace.
Polished until smooth, these gemstones are typically oval in shape with a slight indentation for the thumb. Sometimes they have writing on it (the one you see pictured is my favorite, but I have several message-free stones as well). In addition to providing your hands with something to do when you are anxious (rather than, say, smoke a cigarette or bite your nails) worry stones also stimulate nerves in your thumb tip which release endorphins (your body’s feel-good chemicals—the ones that promote calm and relaxation).
The best news is that worry stones are cheap (you can get nice ones for under ten bucks), calorie-free, and portable. We particularly recommend worry stones for anxious flyers. I never leave home without mine!