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I think the best way to deal with the stress of our busy lives is to be in CONTROL over the details, having everything out of your head where you can see it and manage it effectively. That’s why I teach people the Empowered Productivity System, to turn chaos into control. However my friend Dr. Harvey Kitzman has some other ideas about managing your stress levels, especially during the holidays, and I invited him to share them here. Today he’ll explain what stress is and ways it can affect us that you might not know about. Tomorrow he’ll provide 6 tips for beating stress, at the holidays and throughout the year.

Tips to Fight Holiday Stress and Holiday Blues, Pt. 1
by Dr. Harvey Kitzman

With the holidays already here, many people see an increase in their stress levels, and some people even have the holiday blues. Who doesn’t get stressed out with all of the shopping, cooking and travel plans that happen during the holidays? How many of us are time crunched and sleep deprived already? Add to that the fear of the flu bug and the H1N1 flu that we hear about on the news, and that worry just adds to our holiday stress levels.

What is stress anyway? Stress is an internal reaction to external events. It is an evolutionary response – the fight or flight response. Continuous stress can manifest itself as GI problems, losing sleep, increased fatigue, heightened blood pressure, headaches, concentration problems, adrenal fatigue and other symptoms. As we all know, many events can trigger the appearance of stress in our lives – job, marriage, money, new baby, holidays etc. The body does not distinguish between “good” stress (marriage, new baby, starting a new biz) and “bad” stress. It only knows that there is stress, and it reacts. Are there other types of stresses? Yes. Our bodies are subject to stress from many sources, both internal and external. Another type of stress we need to be concerned about is oxidative stress. Oxidative stress is defined as a condition of increased oxidant production in animal cells characterized by the release of free radicals and resulting in cellular degeneration. Think of this like taking a bite of an apple and letting it sit for a few minutes. The brown pigmentation that we see is due to oxidative stress. The same analogy can also be seen by rust forming on metal. This type of stress has been shown to be present in many types of medical conditions, including atherosclerosis, diseases involving inflammation, such as IBS, IBD, arthritis, periodontal disease, Crohn’s disease and Alzheimer’s. Free radicals are produced from both our internal cellular processes, such as the electron transport chain, and from the external environment. For example smoking is one method that is used by smokers to alleviate stress. When we smoke, however, each puff delivers 1027 of free radicals into our lungs. Think about that for a second. How much damage do you think this is doing internally?

Come back tomorrow to read Dr. Kitzman’s top 6 tips for fighting stress. All are easy and inexpensive, to make sure that you can start 2010 calm and capable!

If you have any questions about this information, or would like a free consultation to learn more about nutrition, nutritional counseling, or nutritional supplementation, contact Dr. Harvey Kitzman at [email protected] or 512-657-3432 (for your free consult, just tell him you read this article on the Blog).

Have a happy and healthy holiday season!