Stress likes to creep up and linger -- and our fast-paced lifestyles and the holidays closing in isn't helping us get any calmer.
We confided in Lisa Chan, one of Los Angeles’ most popular reflexologists and holistic healers, to ask for some easy to use tips for when the stress just won't let up.
Chan explains that her interest in holistic healing started after her father was cured of Polio with Chinese medicine and herbs. She is now a licensed acupuncturist and reflexology teacher and has been practicing in the healing arts for 20 years.
Her clients range from A-listers to entrepreneurs, and she has helped countless clients with issues surrounding energy levels, digestion, insomnia, menopausal and menstrual symptoms, chronic pain, memory loss, headaches and stress reduction –- which is exactly why we decided to talk to her.
Right off the bat, Chan explained, “Stress is not what we do, it’s how we do what we do.”
1. Express Yourself
“So much of our physical health can be supported and made stronger by creative expression. Every Wednesday I go to my friend’s healing clinic and we paint and write poetry and meditate,” Chan says.
If you don’t consider yourself an artist, that’s okay. Good or bad, training or not, trying new forms of self-expression is a great way to calm down and find inner peace.
“Even though I play the cello very badly, I keep it in my backseat in case I can find a place to practice. I have also decided to try something new, Flamenco dancing, because I know it’s so good for the spirit, posture, and the heart."
2. Take Breaks
“Slowing down and stopping can mean pulling over on the side of the road and just sitting there. Unplugging really, not talking on the phone. Lay down. Sit down. Don’t talk to anybody. Don’t look at your Facebook. It’s hard, I know, but it makes such a difference.”
For some this may seem impossible, considering we constantly check our emails and receive endless notifications on our smart phones. But even a daily ritual, just for a few minutes, can help clear your head.
“Sometimes, to unwind, I crawl up in my driveway with my cat. Everything is so slow to a cat, watching the world go by. Just look at the cloud. I mean, we’re not machines.”
3. Laugh…And Breathe.
“I laugh. A lot. I just love to laugh and am always reminding my patients to laugh. People aren’t laughing enough. And always pay attention to your breath. Don’t forget to breathe.”
4. Watch Your Language
“I’m really careful with my language. I hear people saying things like, 'My job is killing me!’ But words have so much power. Our words get so engrained in our minds."
Now think – when is the last time you declared "hating your job" or that something is "ruining your life?"
5. Move Your Body
“I hear of children who stay indoors all day, playing video games, working themselves into such a craze. Then these children act out, and there probably isn’t anything really wrong. They should just go outside and play soccer.”
Going outside for just a few minutes can make a huge difference.
“So many of my patients don’t [go for] walks. Sometimes I walk around the block with them as a part of a session. It helps so much. Even if it’s just around the parking lot.”
6. Practice Self-Acceptance
“Positive self-talk is unheard of in America. To say thank you when someone gives you a compliment when you look nice? Everyone says, ‘Oh no, it’s just some old dress…’ instead of just saying thank you. This city is so competitive, I know families who have left LA and moved to another state to keep their kids away from how competitive it is.”
With constant media coverage of celebrities and their beauty rituals in front of us all the time, we can’t help but compare ourselves.
“In this world, there’s always the insatiable need to be more or better. Smarter, prettier, more popular, thinner, whatever. There is an insatiable need to be something other than what we are. And I am so sorry about that for our society.”
Maybe it’s time to start saying thank you more often and looking in the mirror to see something beautiful.
For more from Lisa Chan, check out her website here.