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Relieving Holiday Stress

"According to a recent government survey, nearly half of all Americans used mind-body interventions in 2002. The respondents embraced practices ranging from deep breathing and progressive muscle relaxation to meditation, hypnosis and guided imagery." Herbert Benson, MD, Julie Corliss, and Geoffrey Cowley, Newsweek, September 27, 2004

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To register for stress management programs and services, contact Rana Chudnofsky at 617.643.6068 or

Are we having fun yet?

If this has become your family's holiday refrain, maybe it's time to STOP, BREATHE, REFLECT, and CHOSE a different avenue this year. Patricia Martin Arcari, PhD, director of the Mind Body Program for Mothers, offers the following tips to help families reclaim the joy of holiday time:

Tips for Returning Comfort and Joy to Your Holidays

  • Spend some quiet time discussing what is important and meaningful to your family. Try to balance parties and spending with charitable endeavors.
  • Prioritize so you're not overloading your schedule. A handful of activities allow you to enjoy each one more fully.
  • Try to be mindful -- in other words, focus on (and savor) the activity at hand rather than already anticipating what's next.
  • If the traffic or line for Santa starts your blood boiling, take deep (diaphragmatic) breaths, holding each one, and count back from 5. These "mini-relaxations" can keep you calm on even the most stressful days.
  • Be prepared to cancel plans if obstacles present themselves and the kids are melting down. Your vision of an old-fashioned stroll through the lighted Common should be abandoned when it's past bedtime and the wind chill is -10.
  • You are not Martha Stewart -- enough said.
  • Be open to the one "close-to-perfect" moment. It may be unexpected, but it will leave you feeling warm and gratified.

Read other articles about Managing Stress.

This article was provided by Mind/Body Medical Institute.
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