Everybody experiences stress. Our bodies are designed to create a stress response to certain stimuli and some stress is unavoidable. However, some hand types are more prone to stress, exhibit stronger signs, and are more affected by it. Understanding stress from the hands allows for specific advice on how to deal with adversity and cope under difficult conditions

Chronological development

The hands change over time and the chronological development of stress can be one of the clearest examples of change. Below is a woman’s handprint taken two years apart. From 2016-2018 she experienced increased pressure at work, resulting in less sleep and more stress. This can be seen in the increased number of small horizontal lines cutting across the hand.

Additional small lines like this shows a strain on the nervous system, and that the body is sensitive and highly strung. This woman had more mental concerns and physically it was harder for her body to relax, affecting digestion and sleep. These clear developments of stress and how they influence specific areas of health shows how important it is to take note of lifestyle changes and implement methods of relaxation. The most suitable ways of relaxing can be assessed by the rest of the hand. As this is a mentally active hand with a strong Head Line but weaker Life Line, working on the physical body, switching the mind off, would be very beneficial.

The narrow, long-fingered, emotionally sensitive and analytical Water hand.

Hand type

All features of the hand respond to stress differently, but a good general indicator is the hand shape and skin texture.

Narrow slim hands are more affected by their surroundings and the environment. Arguments, tension and external pressure are all felt more prominently for slender hands. If they also have long fingers, this shows an analytical mind and certainly someone who would ‘feel’ external stressors and think about them a lot. This would be typical of a Water hand.

Skin texture

The fine, delicate lines of a Silk Skin hand. The skin is extremely smooth and soft when touched.

The finer the skin, the more sensitive and refined the nervous system is; therefore, people with ‘silk skin’ are much more affected by any stressor, simply because they feel it more. Silk skin types must have calm, clear and peaceful environments or they will be negatively affected and feel very stressed.


The Head Line

The Head Line is the most important major line for assessing stress. As the Head Line shows how we think, perceive and process information, the type and quality of this line can reveal potential strains and mental tension.

Two Head Lines

Having a second Head Line can show increased chances of stress. An additional Head Line means someone can think in a second, different way. Although this can be useful, it means the mind is prone to overthinking and can have excess mental chatter and argue with oneself as the two lines give different perspectives. It can double someone’s thinking power, which can be very useful, but also stressful as it will increase the amount they think or worry. Islands and bubbles in the Head Line are all signs of mental sensitivity and someone who would be affected by stress.

A large island on the Head Line showing internal anxieties, stress and worry.

The clearer and smoother the line, the more clarity and precision someone has in their thoughts. When there are small or large islands, this is a sign of not being able always to think clearly, which means more difficulty dealing with stress.

The Fingers & Palm

Although stress can be assessed in lots of areas, the last two I would like to mention are easy to spot: the fingertips and the hypothenar eminence (the bottom far side of the palm). The fingers very often have small lines on the phalanges: these can relate to a wearing down of energy levels, lack of sleep, dehydration and general fatigue. However, when the lines, especially on the tips, are horizontal, this is a clear sign of mental stress.

Horizontal lines on the fingertips show stress that has been building up over time. These are the fingers of a junior doctor who imposes a lot of pressure on himself and has been working long hours for several years

As the upper phalanges are more connected to the mental realms, bar lines here show deep mental stress. A build-up that would have taken several years and a pattern that becomes chronic is seen here. When these lines are present, attitudes, behaviours and lifestyles need to be evaluated as stress has been building for a long time and the process of relaxing needs to start, but will equally take some time. A more immediate and temporary sign of stress can be found on the proximal ulnar side of the palm (the lunar quadrant). Lines appearing here show a busy and restless period, typically associated with stress. The person is normally being very productive, they have a hastiness about their actions and have a lot to do. However, it is important to also have rest and relaxation time as there will be a tendency to overdo it, and small lines here can increase and lead to stress markings elsewhere.

Horizontal lines appearing from the outside of the palm show a temporary restlessness and stress. However, when the lines are deeper and longer as we can see here, the stress is more chronic. A single deep strong line here is known as an ‘intensity’ line.