How to Calm Yourself When You’re Anxious

by Steven Kessler

Whenever you notice your body getting anxious, here's a simple self-soothing technique you can use to calm yourself down. I call it the AK 4-Point Rubbing Technique because I first learned it when I was studying Applied Kinesiology back in the 1970's.

To use it, you simply rub 4 points on the front of your body, all at the same time. The first 2 points are at the edges of your sternum (about 2 inches apart) and just under your collarbone. They're called the collarbone points in EFT and K-27 on an acupuncture chart. To find them, start at the notch in your neck and come down an inch and then out an inch to the left and right. You'll use the thumb and first two fingers of one hand to rub these two points.

To find the other 2 points, imagine a small clock face centered on your belly button, with the numbers on the clock face arranged in a circle about 2 inches wide. The points you want are at 4 and 8 on the clock face, so they're about an inch to each side of your belly button and down about half an inch. You'll use the thumb and first two fingers of the other hand to rub these two points.

To keep your hand muscles from getting tired, keep your hands still and use your arm muscles to move your hands back and forth. Your arm muscles are much bigger and stronger, so they won't tire so easily. You can use your finger muscles to do the rubbing motion, but you'll probably find it's less tiring to use your arm muscles instead.

When you first notice that you're anxious, before you start doing the rubbing, focus on your body and try to locate the sensations of your anxiety. Notice where they're located and just what the sensations are in that area. Then keep you attention on those sensations as you rub.

How long you do the rubbing is up to you. You may want to continue for several minutes as you feel the intensity of the sensations gradually diminish. Or you may feel the sensations diminish rapidly and feel like you're done more quickly. Often the reduction in intensity is remarkable. Do remember to breathe while you're rubbing.

You can use the AK 4-point rubbing technique on yourself anywhere, anytime you want to shift your inner state. There are no side effects or problems you can create with it. It's free and easy and always with you. Some people tend to stop breathing while they focus on the rubbing, so do remind yourself to keep breathing as you do it. It's always wise to keep breathing!

Remember, you can do this as much as you want, any time you want. Over time, you may gradually notice that you just feel less anxious than you used to. And knowing that you have a tool to soothe yourself may make you less prone to feeling anxious in the first place.

I hope you find this helpful. Happy rubbing!

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