WORRY STONES: DEFINITION, USE, AND HISTORY
Worry stones are smooth polished stones that may include an indentation on one side where the thumb may easily fit. The smoothness of the stone is usually caused by running water. Worry stones may be found in natural settings anywhere there is or has been flowing water such as rivers and tidal pools.
Gently rubbing the worry stone between the thumb and index finger creates a sense of relaxation and may reduce anxiety. They are calming to the self and may be an aid to meditation.
Worry stones have been used by many cultures all over the world from ancient times to the present day. Worry stones were used in ancient Greece, Tibet, Ireland, and by many Native American tribes. In ancient Greece, the smooth worry stones were created by the movement of the waters of the sea. Many Native American tribes considered worry stones to be sacred and to have healing qualities. They were sometimes included in holy bundles. Native Americans pass on worry stones to the young of their tribes to maintain a connection between the new generation and their ancestors. In Ireland, worry stones are thought to be a source of good luck. They are used in Pagan and Wiccan practices as well as New Age crystal healing. They provide a source of grounding with the Earth and dispel negative energy or feelings. Modern psychological practices also use worry stones as a means of reducing stress. They are considered very useful in short term therapy and treatment of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. Many cognitive behavioral therapists consider them psychologically helpful as a soothing coping mechanism. They have been used extensively as a coping mechanism for refugees and children.