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The stressful face of Britain's Prime Minister Gordon Brown as he faces criticism.
The stressful face of Britain's Prime Minister Gordon Brown as he faces criticism.
AP Photo/Stefan Wermuth, pool

The holiday season is filled with so many wonderful things.  Children sitting on Santa’s lap, holiday shoppers scurrying along the busy decorated malls, hosts and hostesses creating dinner menus and decorating homes.  Everyone is busy, but we all keep smiling as the nervous tension of anticipation of guests, buying presents, baking and work deadlines grow ever so near.  All in all, an overwhelming build up of stress that can dampen any occasion and cause illness.

Stress can devastate a person body, mind and soul.  It decreases immunity, increases blood pressure (instigating heart disease and stroke).  Stress can trigger emotional responses leading to weight gain, anger, anxiety, confusion, fatigue, depression, psychosomatic illness…and the list continues.  Yet we all continue to engage in situations that bring upon undue worry and overwhelming demands, especially during this particular time of year.

According to the American Institute of Stress, “stress is difficult for scientists to define because it is a highly subjective phenomenon that differs for each of us. “

The American Institute of Stress further states that “there are numerous emotional and physical disorders linked to stress…” such as “immune system disturbances that increase susceptibility to infections, a host of viral linked disorders ranging from the common cold and herpes to AIDS and certain cancers, as well as autoimmune diseases like rheumatoid arthritis and multiple sclerosis.” 


Manifestations of stress may include headaches, muscular pain, heart palpitations, feeling overwhelmed, lonely, depressed, unable to concentrate, increased or decreased appetite, difficulty breathing.

This holiday season, think of slowly accomplishing the many different tasks that lay ahead of you in an organized fashion.  Create a list, prioritize tasks, and have a fall back plan.  That tray of cookies you don’t have the time to make can easily be bought at a local bakery or grocery store.  If you’re tight on cash, try buying that tray in bulk.  It’ll save you time, reduce your stress level, and save you looking for a tray.

The following provides a few sites with additional information on the effects of stress, and are recommended sites by the American Institute of Stress: National Institute of Mental Health National Mental Health Association Assess stress levels Meditation techniques


The statements discussed above have not been scientifically proven.  Always check with your physician or healthcare professional prior to starting alternative therapy or any other treatment or course of therapy.