How to deal with stress during the holidaysJust because stress is unavoidable, doesn’t mean you should let it get the better of you.  Is there anything more stressful than holiday gatherings?

In case you find yourself in a tense situation over the holidays, there is a proven way to fend off holiday anxiety.

It’s a simple practice. My six year old can do it. It is scientifically proven to improve the health of your heart and increase life satisfaction.

In a study conducted by Paul Mills PhD, 186 men and women who were diagnosed with asymptomatic heart failure for at least three months, were assigned to keep a gratitude journal.

Over the course of eight weeks, the patients were asked to write down three things they were grateful for each day.

The results?

Reductions in circulating levels of several important inflammatory biomarkers. Also an increase in heart rate variability were observed.

What does all that mean?

 “Improved heart rate variability is considered a measure of reduced cardiac risk,” said Mills. “It seems that a more grateful heart is indeed a more healthy heart, and that gratitude journaling is an easy way to support cardiac health.”  

Heart disease may not be something you are dealing with. The fact that a reduction of inflammatory markers was observed, may indicate a broader scope of health benefits. This applies to any condition characterized by inflammation.

Managing stress and improving health is as effortless as writing down three things you are grateful for every day.

Remember, if cousin Randy is driving you nuts, rather than stand by feeling irritated and put out, excuse yourself from the room, pull out your phone (paper if you are old school) and start a list of things you are grateful for.