Worry Stones Help with Stress and Anxiety

 Wealthy People are Buying Fewer Gems and are Buying Stones and Minerals Instead

"The Diamond and Gem Market is set to fall significantly in 2021" , so said Christie's the auctioneers in mid January. There is a lot of demand for stones and minerals, a trend which is expected to grow during the year. Not only are these minerals less expensive, but the need for emotional support is growing massively, and is going to be intensified as increasing stress and quarantining drives buying minerals at all levels and in all price ranges.

Wealthy people are buying fewer costly gems, and along with most people, are foregoing shiny, glitzy gems for stones and crystals. Some people use individual stones but "worry" or "palm" stones are becoming increasingly popular especially among the wealthy. More recently "pocket hearts" have started to grow in popularity, allowing the owner to appreciate the stone for its beauty as well as for its healing properties.

Nowhere is this more apparent than in the celebrity enclaves of Los Angeles. Kate Hudson credits the Amethysts she carries with helping her deal with; emotional distress; Adele carries a crystal to help reduce performance related anxiety; Gwyneth Paltrow carries Rose Quartz which is believed to create harmony and love in her life; Victoria Beckham carries Black Obsidian for protection.

The great thing about all three versions types of stone is that they are small enough to fit in the pocket. The act of holding or rubbing the stone is so subtle that no-one, a friend, a boss, an employee or even members of an audience at a performance will ever know that this is the way that the owner is coping with their worries and anxieties.

Worry and Palm Stones

No one knows when someone first picked up a shiny stone and held it, for its beauty or the way it felt. It is likely that this activity occurred at the beginning of the existence of man. But the ancient Greeks are usually credited with picking up smooth stones from the seashore  that had been tumbled by the waves, fiddled with

them and carried them as "something to hold onto". They were not alone. Stones have been popular with Tibetan Buddhists; North American tribes; and Irish and Welsh Druids.They became part of the Christian tradition in the form  of   rosaries, prayer or worry beads. Links between stones, grounding, peace and spirituality is not new.

In more recent times they became part of the "new-age"  movements and were accepted into some forms of alternative medicine, steadily increasing in popularity.

But the current explosion in their use has its roots in the stress and anxieties which have arisen over the past year, and continue to exist as COVID wages its own kind of war on individuals and communities. The basic action of holding and rubbing a stone helps the owner to focus on thoughts and intentions, to alleviate stress, to pray or to meditate. This action brings peace and quiet in facing and dealing with troubles. There is something very calming about the weight and texture of a natural stone which is grounding for the troubled mind.

The stones have huge power to soothe nerves which are on edge. As well as being discreet in use, they are not expensive and are made from natural products. Whilst they may not, of themselves, solve problems,  they can reduce their intensity

What are they?

Worry Stones - can be of any type of stone. Some people find benefit in having a worry stone made from their favorite material maybe their birthstone, or one which works for them. You choose. Maybe the one which you find beautiful or attractive. The whole point is that the stone should work for you. Typically they are oval shaped, about 11/2 inches long and just under an 1 inch wide. One surface is flat to the touch, the other contains a shallow dip into which you can fit your thumb. The idea is to hold the stone between you thumb and fingers with your thumb in the dip. Gently move your thumb and fingers so that you feel the smoothness of the stone. In the picture above the dip is visible. The materials illustrated are, starting at 6pm and going clockwise:

  • clear quartz;
  • mahogany obsidian;
  • rose quartz;
  • chevron amethyst;
  • sodalite;
  • tiger eye; and
  • picture jasper; and
  • surrounding a chakra stone in the middle.

We have these and a great range of worry stones available in the store.

Palm Stones - similar in style and purpose to worry stones, these stones are shaped to fit into the palm of your hand and have a lovely shape. They tend to be a little larger than worry stones, and do not have the indentation for the thumb. Just holding a palm stone while thinking positive thoughts can help to instill calm and deal with anxiety. Palm stones probably appeared before the carefully shaped worry stones. In American tribes older members gave their stones to the younger generation, creating a sense of continuity and connection with the family, a practice which seems to be growing today. Some believed the stones were sacred, especially if they were made of quartz. As with worry stones, chose the one you are drawn to by its color, or simply how it feels in your hand.

Pocket Hearts - fairly new on the market, these stones are heart shaped. Of a similar size to worry or palm stones, they are designed to be carried in the pocket.

This collection are about 11/2 x11/2 inches in size, fit nicely into the hand and are easy to carry around. They are designed to live in small places, indeed some people carry them in their bra - near to their heart

I heard this lovely story from the manager of a residential care home in England. One day, an elderly gentleman was being admitted into care as he had dementia and could not longer live at home. Sitting, looking lost in his room the carer saw that he was holding a lovely heart-shaped stone. He said rather plaintively "What do I do now?. His wife who was with him said very quietly, "You hold your stone heart all the time, even in bed, and remember that you are and always will be dearly loved".

Children of all ages love stone hearts of all sizes and colors. They make exceptional gifts, especially now as they are separated from their friends during home schooling. They make beautiful keepsakes which can be kept, for ever imbued with childhood memories.

The hearts in this picture from 6pm, moving clockwise are:

  • Unakite;
  • Orange Selenite;
  • Agate;
  • Robin Egg Jasper; and
  • Picture Jasper.

Cleaning your Stones  - There is much varied advice available about cleaning and cleansing your stones (two different processes). It is thought that viruses cannot exist on stones. But to be safe and especially as they have been handled, it would be wise to wash your stones daily in warm soapy water. Cleansing is about balancing the energy the stones project. We find the best advice is to use a Selenite "cleansing plate". Just place your stone or stones on the plate overnight. If you want to connect with your stones through the energy they provide, see if this method works for you. If not have a look for the various methods recommended by others which are available in detail on many specialist websites.

Do Worry Stones Work? The Science

An internet search reveals many articles as to the benefits of stones and crystals in general and worry stones in particular. There are a number of references to a 2004 experiment at Goldsmith's College of the University of London. Eighty people were given either a real or fake stone with which to meditate. All reported positive effects from their stone, even those which were fake. Those who had been told at the start of the experiment that the stone would make a difference reported even stronger  effects. This research has led to the belief amongst the scientific community that the benefits arise form the placebo effect. Two slightly earlier (unpublished) studies (1999 and 2000) seem to confirm this result. No peer reviewed study has been published evidencing the positive effect of stones and crystals in healing.

But, (and it is a Big But) worry and other stones are increasingly being used in psychotherapy in treating anxiety, depression PTSD and other behavioral problems. A key principal of Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT) and mindfulness is that a worry stone can act in a self-soothing way, counteracting negative comfort habits such as nail biting. Therapists use worry stones in combination with other relaxation exercises. Holding the stone acts as a reminder to recall positive thoughts and images. Rubbing the stone while recalling these thoughts counters anxiety, reinforcing positive images. In this way positive re-enforcement is developed which helps in overcoming anxiety in any situation. The presence of the stone acts as a reminder to be positive, turning anxiety and worry into a powerful approach to life. This approach helps us to understand why Adele carries her stone with her when she performs enabling her to create positive thoughts and deliver great performances. This approach is proving to be incredibly valuable in dealing with the stresses which COVID is inevitably adding to our daily lives.

Mindfulness is linked to a type of CBT known as Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT). It teaches people how to live in the moment, how to cope with stress and regulate emotions while improving their relationships with others. As well as helping with anxiety it has been shown to reduce depression and support pain management. MRI Research at Harvard has shown that mindfulness helps to calm that part of the brain which deals with stress and worry. Over time, mindfulness exercises affect all aspects of daily life. More recent research in Denmark has shown that mindfulness helps the brain to focus and forget fears.

For many therapists working in the areas of CBT, DBT and Mindfulness, worry stones have become a "grounding tool" used to help people address and deal with stress and anxiety and to lead better, calmer more satisfying lives. The great thing about worry stones is that you do not necessarily need therapy to benefit from their presence. They may not solve your problems of cure a physical illness of condition, but they can reduce the intensity of the worry and move on positively to the future.

Research has shown that a touch or movement can interrupt the brain from playing negative thoughts. If you know that what you have to do will be stressful, a job interview, making a presentation, even getting married, put your worry stone in a pocket where you will be able to reach it if necessary. You will find that its very presence can help you relax and approach what you have to do positively without anyone knowing!