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Practical Techniques For Dealing With Holiday Stress

Dr. Mimi Guarneri, a cardiologist and founder of Scripps Center for Integrative Medicine, talks to KPBS about some tips to reduce stress during the holidays.

We're sorry. This audio clip is no longer available. A transcript has been made available.

Scripps Workshop on Stress

Tips to Transform Holiday Stress Into Strength - Free workshop

7 - 8:15 p.m.

Schaeztel Center at Scripps Memorial Hospital

9888 Geneee Ave., La Jolla, CA. 92037

Register by calling 1-800-SCRIPPS

Many people make a promise to themselves every year that they will enjoy the holiday season, only to become overwhelmed with tasks, shopping, relatives and money worries. All of that adds up to stress, and stress can do more than just ruin your holiday -- it can make you depressed and physically ill.

Physical symptoms of stress include heart pounding, stomach irritation, headaches and muscle tension, said Dr. Mimi Guarneri, a cardiologist and founder of Scripps Center for Integrative Medicine.

Guarneri said major events like 9/11 or an earthquake cause acute stress, whereas chronic stress comes from a low amount of stress over a long period of time, she said.

Chronic stress can cause high blood pressure, diabetes, chest pain, memory problems, irritability and insomnia, she said. She added that 75 to 90 percent of visits to doctors are related to stress.

To cope with acute stress, Guarneri suggests taking a time out and deep breathing. To cope with chronic stress, she said we need "tools in our toolbox." That could mean taking yoga or mediation classes to learn how to cope with stress when it arises.

Even singing can help, she said.

"If you practice appreciation, gratefulness, all of a sudden those little things that are annoying you start to go away," she said.

Claire Trageser contributed to this report.

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