Enjoy Your Holidays: Effectively Managing Holiday Stress

Contentment Magazine: Winter 2023-24
Volume 12, Number 4


Or Read the Articles Below

Editor’s Message
By Daniel L. Kirsch, PhD, FAIS

Enjoy Your Holidays: Effectively Managing Holiday Stress
By Josh Briley, PhD, FAIS
The holiday season is fraught with potential stressors that are unique to this time of year. However, the stressors do not have to steal the joy we want from celebrating time with friends and family. Planning ahead and budgeting finances, time, and effort, looking for good things that are happening all around us rather than focusing on the negatives, being flexible and patient with unexpected occurrences, and gently and patiently checking in with yourself to see how you are doing are keys to not just surviving the holidays, but enjoying and thriving in them.

COVID and the Immune Mechanism
By Lewis S. Coleman, MD, FAIS
In the absence of an understanding of the stress mechanism, doctors assume that immune mechanism hyperactivity, which is present in all forms of disease, causes harmful disease effects. Thus, doctors have invented the term “autoimmune disease” to imply the cause of chronic illnesses. They assume that the immune mechanism somehow explains inflammation, chemotaxis, edema, sclerosis, and other manifestations of chronic disease, but these effects are caused by the stress mechanism.

Harmonizing “Emotion-Stress” in Calm, Move, Eat, Connect, and Sleep Pillars of Health
By Evian Gordon, MD, PhD, FAIS and Donna Palmer, PhD
Emotions trigger stress. At your brain’s “safety first” core, emotion neural networks automatically, rapidly (in a fifth of a second), and continually identify environmental and body language cues to help ensure that you avoid threats and identify possible rewards. The “Emotion-Stress” continuum is central to shaping the five key pillars of health: calm, move, eat, connect, and sleep. The goal in stress reduction does not need to be the elimination of stress but rather a plan for how to regulate stress and harness the techniques and tools that work for you in all the interconnected pillars of health. Working these techniques into your daily routine is key. Just 5-10 minutes per day as a regular practice quickly becomes a daily built-in stress-coping practice.

Our Projector of Life: Accessing Feelings of Peace and Wellbeing Through the Three Principles of Resilience
By Carla Hay-Perdue, DNP, APRN, FNP, ANP-BC, NC-BC
We live in a thought-based universe and our feelings are a barometer of our thoughts. You are only one thought away from happiness, sadness, or anxiety. Thought can be seen as the reel of the film of life. It is how we interpret our world in our movie. And you can change films at any time

The Science and Need for Friendships
By Linda Penkala, LMT
The depth and breadth of the impact friendship has on the health and longevity of the body, mind and soul, sets a new standard and paradigm for connections. This reciprocal bond of caring and affection is the cornerstone of a balanced life of friends, family, community, along with spirituality. Making intentional time to invest in friendships, especially after the pandemic, comes with a deep need to connect once again, despite the stress, loss, grief, and hardships the pandemic gave so many.

Some of My Favorite Recent Finding Contentment Podcasts
By William C. Heckman, MS, NBCT, DAIS
Finding Contentment is the official podcast of The American Institute of Stress. This podcast focuses on stress and stress-related issues featuring interviews with healthcare practitioners, stress experts, and professionals with expertise in stress research and management. In this article Finding Contentment host Will Heckman describes some of his favorite recent podcasts.

Editor In Chief

Daniel L. Kirsch, PhD, DAAPM, FAIS
AIS President


Daniel L. Kirsch, PhD, DAAPM, FAIS

Contributing Editors Board

Richard Citrin, PhD, MBA
Alex Bekker, MD, ABHIM, FAIS
Teena Evert, MA
Rozina Lakhani, MD, MPH
Ron Rubenzer, EdD, MA, MPH, MSE, FAIS
James C. Petersen, PhD, FAIS
Jacinta M. Jiménez, PsyD, BCC, FAIS

Managing Editor

Kathy Schoop

Creative Director

Michael McMahon

Daily Life and Workplace Stress Board

The role of this board is to develop initiatives and communications to serve the stress management needs of all people.

Josh Briley, PhD, FAIS, Science and Education Director, EPI, Inc., Former Clinical Psychologist, VA Community Based Outpatient Clinic, Brownwood, Texas

Heidi Hanna, PhD, FAIS, Brain Fitness Researcher, Instructor, Harvard Extension

William C. Heckman, MS, NBCT, DAIS, Board Certified Educator, Executive Director, The American Institute of Stress

Andrew Pleener, MD, FAIS, Psychiatrist, Founder of the #SameHere STARR & Psych Alliances

Sharon Montes, MD, FAIS, Founder, Living Well Whole Health, Former Medical Director for the University of Maryland Center for Integrative Medicine


Contentment Magazine

The mission of the nonprofit American Institute of Stress is to improve the health of our community and the world by setting the standard of excellence of stress management in education, research, clinical care and the workplace. Diverse and inclusive, AIS educates healthcare practitioners, scientists, and the public. AIS is the only Institute in America solely dedicated to providing information, training and techniques to prevent and reverse human disorders related to stress, and to improve the quality of life and increase longevity through building resilience to stress. Credentialed AIS members provide leadership to the world on stress related topics.

Subscribe to our FREE magazines and begin your journey to a happier, healthier, and longer life!


Contentment Magazine

The dictionary defines “content” as being in a state of peaceful happiness.  The AIS magazine is called Contentment because we want all of our guests and members to find contentment in their lives by learning about stress management and finding what works best for each them.  Stress is unavoidable, and comes in many shapes and sizes that makes being in a state of peaceful happiness seem like a very lofty goal.  But happiness is easy to find once you are able to find ways to manage your stress and keep a healthy perspective when going though difficult times in life.  You will always have stress, but stress does not always have you!

Subscribe to our FREE magazines and begin your journey to a happier, healthier and longer life!



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