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Tips on how to de-stress during the holidays

December 20, 2010 12:00:00 AM PST
Many people are rushing around town to get everything for the holidays, and they're at wits end. It's like this every year."It's all rush, rush. It's all buying all the food, it's all cooking and making sure that you have all the best of everything," said Dr. Eileen Escarce, Ph.D., a clinical developmental psychologist and family coach at The UCLA Family Commons.

She says the holidays tend to be pretty miserable for many people because there's just so much that needs to be done.

"It's exhausting and they're not really enjoying it and they're not really having joy," said Dr. Escarce.

If you can't slow down, Dr. Lawrence Taw, an assistant professor of medicine at the UCLA Center for East-West Medicine, says you can de-stress on the go. He showed us three accupressure points that reduce anxiety and promote calmness. The first is a well-known one found on your hand: the pressure point between your thumb and your index finger.

"The most effective way of finding it is putting your thumb and index finger together," said Dr. Taw.

Apply pressure for 15 to 20 seconds.

"You press until you feel a sensation, that's how you know you're stimulating the point. For some people, it's very minimal stimulation, for other people you have to go much deeper," said Dr. Taw.

The second is located three fingers below the crease in your wrist, between the tendons. With your hand in a relaxed position, apply pressure in a circular motion for 15 to 30 seconds, twice a day.

A third point for stress is right above the big toe.

"It's actually two fingers above the web space between the big toe and the second toe, between the bone," said Dr. Taw.

At the end of the day, Dr. Taw says a foot massage is a great way to relax. Just roll a tennis ball under your foot for instant stress relief.

But focusing on what's important is the best way to mentally de-stress.

"Be mindful of what is most meaningful to them and try to create those experiences," said Dr. Escarce.

Studies show more people find experiences more rewarding than actual material things, according to Dr. Escarce. So this holiday season, focus on what matters most and that's usually being with family and friends.


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