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Stress and Anxiety: A Common Holiday Fear

By Kai Wade - Director of Communications & Social Media | December 10th, 2011



The stress at this time of year can be overwhelming, channeled by the horrific traffic, congested stores, and relentless commercials aggressively proclaiming holiday cheer. What is supposed to be the most joyful time of the year is actually full of anxiety for many people.

The well-respected Consumer Reports took a deeper look, and asked its readers what they fear the most about the holiday season.

What they found most likely won’t surprise many - 68 percent dread overbearing crowds and long lines in shopping centers, 37 percent panic over gaining weight and another 37 percent fear the holiday surplus could be piling up more personal debt.

"This commercial overindulgence wears on most of us," stated Tod Marks, senior editor of Consumer Reports. "The long season appears to sour the Tiny Tim in all of us."

Although we may not be able to shorten lines, move slow traffic, or empty the overfilled stores we can reduce the wear and tear that the holiday season seems to impose on our mental health.

Experts suggest that it is vitally important to eliminate the unnecessary from your holiday scene. Stay calm and just breathe in overwhelming situations.

Reducing stress can help reduce further risks of heart disease, heart attacks, skin conditions, digestive disorder flare-ups, immune disorders, anxiety, depression, and insomnia.

23-year-old global superstar, Rihanna has recently been under health watch due to stress. Rihanna, who had a backstage breakdown leaving her lightheaded, is battling stress on her 101-day tour wrapping up over the holidays. The American Psychological Association grants that stress can be natural – in small doses, it can even be a good thing. The effects of stress may enable us to conquer our fears and be extra driven, if managed in a healthy way.

What are the signs that holiday fatigue may be slowing down your happiness?

The Mayo Clinic indicates the most common effects of stress include headaches, chest or muscle pain, tiredness, upset stomach, trouble sleeping and even a change in sex drive.

Plan ahead, make time to relax, eat healthy, make time to exercise and mix it up with family and friends to reduce feelings of stress and anxiety.

You know the frazzle is coming and even when you try to avoid it; holiday stress transpires every year.

"People are surprised by their own reactions to the holidays, yet they're very familiar," said Simon Rego, director of psychology training at Montefiore Medical Center in New York. 

Sometimes the body's response to stress is fit for the holidays, but over time, chronic stress takes a toll on our bodies and ultimately our lives.

"People don't change their behavioral patterns," said Rego. "A lot can be reduced if people would recognize ahead of time what their vulnerabilities are and plan accordingly and act differently."


To learn more about stress and anxiety treatments, contact a mental health doctor near you.











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