Holiday anxiety may have serious health problems

JONESBORO,AR (KAIT)- The Holidays can be the most stressful time of year. A new study by the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine finds that high levels of anxiety may increase the risk of stroke.

According to the first ever study that looks at how anxiety influences the risk of stroke , people with the highest level of anxiety have a higher chance of having a future stroke.

"I went shopping,prepared and bought food, I started wrapping presents early, we went out andbought a tree and I let the kids decorate it," said shopper Savannah Witt.

The Holidayseason can get pretty stressful, for some people Santa only brings anxiety and depression.

"That puts alot of stress on you waiting till the last minute," Witt said.

If you'refeeling overwhelmed, sometimes it's best to stop what you're doing and dosomething else even if that means walking your dog.

"Every morningI walk down the road and back with my dog because it can get stressful like yousaid with the holidays," said shopper Melissa Whiteside. "I haveprayed a lot, you know during this holiday season it's all about Christ beingborn."

It also helpsto set limits.

"I limit thepurchase of the price of the item I'm going to buy," she said.

But sometimesyou have to break the rules.

"Everybodylikes a little bling so I went ahead and bought myself my own Christmaspresent," Whiteside said.

Dr. DanaWatson is a clinical psychologist at Families Inc. and says too much stress andanxiety can really take a toll on your health.

"Holidaysare so stressful because they are packed with so many additional activitiesaside from the ones we already have to do day to day," she said.

Watson suggestsbeing realistic about your goals and yes ladies, delegating your tasks.

"Taketimeouts and take breaks and be honest with yourself and your family about yourfeelings if you're overwhelmed," Watson said.

And don'tforget to just sit back and enjoy.

"Don't ruinthe season for yourself," Whiteside said.

Other ways to manage holiday stress is to: plan ahead, don't overspend, be realistic, watch your diet and remember to exercise, learn to say no and take a breather.

Copyright 2013 KAIT. All rights reserved.