Year after year, survey show that Americans of all ages consider the holiday season as the most stressful time of the year for them. One of the factors leading to this situation, and its persistence, is that people don’t change how to handle this season physically, time-wise and emotionally, because they don’t realize the true toll it takes on them to keep doing the same thing. The effects of stress on the individual and the people around them are strongly underestimated.

Stress has a large and scientifically measured impact on thinking, productivity and health. Because of decreased blood flow to some areas of the brain, stress reduces the mind’s ability to think clearly, accurately and quickly. Under stress, studies have shown that people work more slowly, make more mistakes. In the holiday season, when stress is high, this feeds a positive feedback loop leading to more and more stress. Stress also decreases the body’s immune response, which results in a higher likelihood to catch a cold, further feeding the positive stress feedback loop.

Furthermore, once the holiday season rush is over, most people don’t take the time to rest and recuperate. As a result, the body does not have the option to reduce the level of stress hormones to its normal levels, so overall, baseline stress remains high, creating the stage for a stressful year, and an even more stressful holiday season the following year.

Over several years of this stress regimen, not only is productivity significantly impaired – studies have shown that productivity levels very easily drop by 30% or more in a matter of weeks – but the long-term physical effects of stress start to be felt, in the form of digestive and cardio-vascular problems. Yet the latter are rarely linked to stress experienced over several years by their victims.

So working on reducing stress this holiday season doesn’t just yield results now, it will reduce stress over the long term. Not sure how to make it happen? Peaceful Productivity professionals are there to help you gain the keys needed, and great programs exist to help you get started at a very reasonable cost. Enter keywords such as "holiday survival" or "avoid end of year stress" to find resources and programs.

Author's Bio: 

Karin Stewart Ph.D. is a peaceful productivity expert and author of the popular Holiday Survival to Holiday Delight (, an eGuide that walks you through a peaceful and relaxed holiday season. She works with clients who want to bring calm into their busy lives, be truly productive and achieve the results they really want. To learn how to become a peacefully productive Daily Master and get your f*r*e*e Time Management Guide, go to