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Gift to self: No stress Nohely Mendoza | Sat, Dec 03 2011 12:00 PM

With the holidays here it’s not unlikely there are some people losing their mind because of the associated stress.

Perhaps lack of money, pressure of gift-giving, or even lack of time — not to mention over-crowded shops, an over-booked calendar, over-eating, over-spending, over-drinking and over-committing — that might make this a less than joyful time of year for people.

“I guess the whole thing about giving and receiving causes stress,” said Don Miller, 76, a clinical psychologist in Chula Vista.

“Meeting people’s expectations and asking ‘Am I worthy?’ worries individuals. Also, being alone during the holidays plays a big role, if you’re homeless or on drugs and have lost people it can be extremely stressful, being alone intensifies loneliness,” he said.

Stress is a physical response to events that makes someone feel threatened or can upset a person’s balance.
Some emotional symptoms of stress include moodiness, irritability or short temper, agitation, feeling overwhelmed, and a sense of loneliness and isolation.

Some physical symptoms of stress include aches and pains, diarrhea or constipation, nausea, chest pain, rapid heartbeat and frequent colds.

“To relieve holiday stress I would say to try and find some kind of group, join a church and try not to be alone on the holidays, if you have family that’s great, if you don’t then find friends and companions, the next best thing if you don’t have family,” said Miller.

“Or if you’re a drug addict or alcoholic you’re in good shape because they have a lot of great help for AA people during the holidays.”

Common holiday stress is about the shopping and buying of gifts that are probably too expensive in the first place.

“Accept the fact that you are not a bad person if you can’t afford some stuff,” said Miller. “People are not bad because they are poor or can’t afford some gifts and they should not let themselves feel bad because of lack of money.”

Holiday stress is a common feeling and no matter if it’s loneliness or lack of money, there is always a way to reduce its impact and cope with the symptoms.

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