Anxiety can sneak up on people for myriad reasons. For some it's more of a chronic state, for others its related to life events- races, presentations, and major life changes (moving, wedding, home purchases) are just a few examples. (See complimentary posting titled, Treating Anxiety with Acupuncture)
Two common ways that patients describe their anxiety: shortness or shallow breath, or rapid and unclear thoughts in their head.
Here are some of my go-to points that I teach my patients to use on the run and in-between sessions, one for each of the common symptoms. If I know someone is in the midst of an anxiety provoking event, I will often send them off with seeds, or magnets on the points for stimulation. Press these points for a few seconds at a time while focusing on your breath.
Pericardium 6, Neiguan (Inner Gate)
This point opens the chest and relaxes the diaphragm for deeper fuller breaths, and calms the mind. It's also a great point for nausea and for that reason I teach it to many of my pregnant patients. Easiest way to locate it: three finger breadths from the wrist, and in-between the two tendons.
Kidney 1, Yongquan (Bubbling Spring)
Think of this point like an anchor. It works very well for anxiety yielding sensations of thoughts rushing to the head, possibly with tingling or cold feet. The emotional feeling might be reported as feeling ungrounded. Easiest way to locate it: divide the sole of the foot in thirds, and follow a straight line down from between your second and third toes.