Emotional Stress Release Technique for anxiety

Emotional Stress Release, commonly referred to as ESR, is a simple and powerful tool you can use to support you through stress and anxiety, or when you’re experiencing strong emotions.

It’s as easy as this – take your fingertips or palms and place them on your forehead.  Hold them there for 3 – 5 minutes (or longer if you like) and allow your body and your energy to soothe and soften.

How it works

To get a little more technical, the points you’re aiming to hold on the forehead are called the ‘frontal eminences’ and they’re the little bumps or ridges you’ll feel between the tops of your eyebrows and the start of your hairline.  Have a little feel around and find the spots on your forehead.

Okay, so this is all well and good, but how does holding my forehead help me when I’m feeling stressed?

It works like this – when we’re in a state of stress, anxiety, overwhelm, or other strong emotions, our body produces stress hormones called adrenaline and cortisol.  Essentially, what these hormones do is send a ‘danger’ signal to our body.  In our cave dwelling days, that might mean, “Look out! Sabre tooth tiger at ten o’clock. Run!”  When our body receives this signal (also known as the ‘fight flight’ response), blood is directed away from any of our ‘non-vital’ bodily processes, including the digestive and reproductive systems and our neo-cortex, and directed to our heart, lungs, arms and legs (so we have a better chance of escaping from harm).

The thing is though, us humans haven’t been on the planet quite long enough to evolve past this primal response, which means that everyday situations can send us into fight flight mode.  A confrontation with a colleague, a crowded elevator, or even a persistent negative thought can trigger our body to produce stress hormones. 

Stress and the body

The other thing that’s important to know here, is when we’re in perpetual fight flight mode (i.e., with chronic stress and anxiety) other body systems and functions can become depleted or impaired because we don’t get enough time in ‘rest and repair’ mode.  This kind of chronic stress and anxiety can wreak havoc on our nervous system, immune system, reproductive system, and digestive system. It can contribute to things like headaches, migraines, shoulder and neck pain.  It can also affect our moods and our sleep, and things like sex drive and the female menstrual cycle.*

Soothing stress using ESR

So what happens when we hold our frontal eminences?  Great question. 

Gentle pressure on these points over the span of a few minutes sends a signal to the body that it’s safe. 

From a physiological perspective, it brings blood back to the stomach – so we don’t feel that fluttery, uncomfortable, ‘nervous tummy’ sensation.  It also brings blood back to the brain, specifically the frontal cortex, so that we can think clearly and make decisions more easily.

This technique can help soothe the entire body in times of stress, worry, fear, overload or pressure.  It’s great for adults and kids.  You can do it on yourself or for someone else, or you can ask someone to do it for you.  And with kids, I love to refer to the ESR points as their “Magic Hands” (kids love this technique).  You can use ESR just about anywhere (maybe not while driving though!) and it can bring peace, calm and room to breathe, to even the most frazzled or frustrated moments.

Try it for yourself

For a demonstration and a quick, guided ESR session, watch this video. 

I use ESR with my clients in clinic almost every single day and it’s amazing how fast it can shift their energy and help them feel supported and soothed. I invite you to take a couple of minutes now to give it a try and notice how you feel.

If you have any questions, please feel welcome to reach out. And if you or someone you know has a lot of stress or anxiety in their lives, I invite you to book an appointment at Flourish so we can support you through kinesiology and energy healing.

* Source: Stress effects on the body, American Psychological Association, 1 November 2018