The Most Hectic Time of the Year?

Science Chunks

As the holiday season nears its climax, there seems to be less and less time to enjoy it. There are gifts to be wrapped, holiday shopping to be done and season greetings cards to be written for your colleagues at work. This can really turn what should be a peaceful time of the year into a nightmare of stress and anxiety. We have put together some fascinating facts on stress for you this holiday season.

Stress is contagious
Maybe this phenomenon seems familiar: When someone yawns, it’s not long before the next person opens his or her mouth wide. Yawning is contagious. Researchers at the Max Planck Institute in Leipzig have discovered that stress can be passed on to other people. If you spend time with people who are constantly wired, you will be infected with this nervous energy, too. Even if you were totally relaxed before, the mere presence of a stressed person can cause your body to release stress hormones.

stressed woman during holidays

The holidays are particularly stressful for women
The supposedly quiet and reflective time of the year is often accompanied by tons of holiday stress and hustle and bustle. A large-scale study in the USA came to the conclusion that every fifth person is stressed during the peak of the holiday season. However, the study also found that women are particularly affected by stress.

Sports are a stress buster
Exercise is perfect for relieving stress and reducing stress hormones. Endurance sports like running, swimming, walking or cycling outdoors are particularly good for helping you relax after a hard day at work. People who regularly engage in exercise are not only healthier, but they are also more resilient to stress.

Nerve foods against stress
When you are under a lot of stress, your nerves are on edge. But it doesn’t have to be this way. The right foods can help calm your nerves. The following foods reduce stress from within: quinoa, amaranth, Brazil nuts, sweet potatoes, cocoa and green tea. If your nerves are a bit frazzled, try cutting sugar and white flour products out of your diet.

Get a good rub-down
According to a U.S. study, massages and affectionate caresses can reduce stress and lower blood pressure. The additional TLC decreases stress hormone levels and increases your oxytocin levels, thus helping you to relax.


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