First, it was jade rollers. Then it was water bottles with crystals inside. The latest trendy gem product? Worry stones. These are gemstones that are a little bigger than a quarter with an indentation that you can rub your thumb on during times of stress. And they work. So well, that some people call them “pocket tranquilizers".
These stones might be new to you, but they go way back. In Greek culture, they have komboloi, or worry beads, which look similar to a rosary but are just used to pass the time. (There's even a museum dedicated to them.) Now, the stones are gaining steam again, thanks in part to the brief but intense popularity of fidget spinners, the ball-bearing toys that are meant to be spun between your fingers.
The so-called “fidget-widget” phenomenon had its nay-sayers (mostly people who found the spinners annoying). But many people felt the products had real benefits: The toys could help kids with attention issues focus, they could promote relaxation, they could usher people into a mindful state, according to an article in the Scientific American. There haven't been a ton of big studies looking into how fidget toys work, but it does seem like having something to do with your hands — whether it's playing with a fidget spinner or a worry stone — can have a positive effect.
There are tons of (inexpensive) stones you can try, based on your personal taste. Some people are drawn to certain colors they find calming, while others seek out specific textures. Heather Askinosie — a crystal healer, the founder of Energy Muse, and author of CRYSTAL365: Crystals for Everyday Life and Your Guide to Health, Wealth, and Balance —for instance, recommends Lemurian Quartz, which is subtly ridged. "It’s great for anxiety because it helps you to take a step back from the situation,” she says. “The repetitive nature of rubbing your thumb along its grooves helps you to focus on your breath and calm your anxiety.”
No matter which rock you decide to use, slip it into your pocket or your bag and pull it out when you start feeling tense. It'll calm you down better than scrolling through Instagram or any of those other things we do when we're stressed. Plus, the stones are pretty, too.