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Next time you feel nervous, try this fear-fighting exercise from What Are You Afraid Of? A Body/Mind Guide to Courageous Living, by Lavinia Plonka (J.P. Tarcher, 2004).
Bring the thumb and fingertips of your right hand together, then slowly let them fall apart, and repeat. This may calm you because the nerve endings in the fingertips and thumb are some of the most sensitive in the body. Neurologists suspect touching your fingers together with your thumb fires responses in the parietal -- or sensory -- part of the brain, which can cause the calming effect.
Originally published in Ladies' Home Journal magazine, June 2004.