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Lancaster County ACEs & Resilience Connection (PA)

Working collaboratively with schools, business, healthcare, government agencies, social services, criminal justice systems, healthcare organizations & faith communities to become a trauma-informed community. We invite all concerned citizens, professionals & advocates to partner with us to raise awareness about trauma & its effects, to build resilience, and offer hope & healing.

TIC Take Five: Fingerholds Technique for managing overwhelming emotions and stress


Though we are still in the "early days" of what the experts predict will likely be a long period of profound changes to our everyday lives, I've already (prematurely? ridiculously optimistically?) been trying to imagine what it will be like when we are finally able to return to whatever may become our "new normal." When schools and colleges re-open, businesses that have managed to remain solvent through this crisis resume business, government agencies return to their core functions, human services organizations resume programs and services they may have had to suspend during this situation . . . what might that look like?

I picture it sort of like all of us collectively stepping out of a dark forest, blinking, into the sunlight. Some of us may feel disoriented, overwhelmed. Some may go running into the light, whooping and hollering. Some may continue to huddle in the darkness of that forest, because even though it's been scary and terrible, it may have also become familiar - a place where we at least had figured out how to navigate and survive. 

This current situation is, for many individuals, families and communities around the world, a very real trauma. For some, it may not ultimately meet the generally accepted definitions of "trauma." Each of us will experience it differently. Each of us IS experiencing it differently, including a wide range of emotions we may be feeling.   

One mind-body self-care strategy we teach in our trauma trainings is the Fingerholds Technique, based on ancient Eastern Medicine traditions, that combines gentle accupressure and mindful breathing to release difficult feelings and bring ourselves back into emotional balance.

The tip of each finger is associated with certain emotions: 

Thumb – tears, grief, emotional pain, feeling upset

Pointer/Index finger – fear, panic, feeling scared

Middle finger – anger, rage, resentment, feeling mad

Ring finger – worry, anxiety

Little finger – having self-doubts, not feeling good about ourselves or feeling bad

When you are experiencing one of these emotions, taking a few minutes to do the fingerholds technique can help to re-calibrate us emotionally and regain a sense of calm. 

Here's a written explanation of the fingerholds technique, with diagrams:


If you prefer to watch a video explanation, here's a 2 minute video to guide you through doing the fingerholds technique:

So, go ahead, give it a try. If you do, we'd love to hear how it worked for you in the comments below.

Stay safe and well!

(hands graphic attribution: <a href="">Assistance Vectors by Vecteezy</a>

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