That Delectable Piece of Fine Chocolate And Coping With Holiday Stress

I have a box of French Truffles beside me as I write.

Chocolates have a bad rep for being categorized as junk food and fatty. It is seen as a type of candy loaded with sugar, preservatives, artificial flavor, and food coloring. Why is this so? Five words: Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.

Chances are that more 3 out of five women avoid eating chocolates with the thought that it is unhealthy. On the contrary, studies have shown that chocolate does have a relatively higher amount of antioxidants than other food. Among products that contain chocolate, cocoa powder has been proven to contain the biggest amount of antioxidants. In fact, dark chocolate may very well be the healthier choice for chocolate lovers. This is because it contains about eight times the number of polyphenol antioxidants found in strawberries. These antioxidants come from flavonoids, plant pigments that counteract cellular damage that leads to cancer and heart-related illnesses.

Chocolate is also capable of elevating our mood better than any shopping spree. It contains phenylethylamine which is known to elevate mood. Think of it as a more decadent version of amphetamine. Other chemicals that chocolate is responsible for are endorphins, serotonin and dopamine- neurotransmitters that make one feel calm, happy, and elated.

The healthiest kind of chocolate there is are dark chocolates. These have the least amount of alteration in substance-there is no milk, sugar and preservatives, to name a few. Milk, the most common additive in chocolate alters the chemical component thereby undoing the healthy benefits of this sweet nibble.

Armed with this information, will you still hesitate reaching for that delectable piece of fine chocolate? I guess not anymore. Take your chance with chocolates. As Forrest Gump popularly states, “Life is a box of chocolates. You’ll never know what you’re gonna get.”

Coping With Holiday Stress

Holiday stress is as predictable as candy canes and mistletoe. Shopping for the perfect presents, cooking and baking and visiting relatives, when added to our already busy lives, can push many of us to the breaking point. However, realizing that stress goes with the holiday season and planning a strategy to cope with it can help to keep us sane between late November and early January.

Define Your Priorities

The first step toward managing holiday stress is defining your priorities. Start by making a list entitled “What is Important to Me About the Holiday Season”. Then, list the traditions that define the season for you. Is it the annual extended family gift exchange? Is it attending a Messiah sing-a-long as a family or getting up at 4 a.m. to shop on Black Friday with your sisters-in-law? Once you’ve established what traditions are truly important to you about the holidays, you can decide which invitations to accept, which activities to attend, which gifts to buy, and more importantly, those that you won’t. Being intentional about the holidays can help you separate the essential from the non-essential, thus keeping you from becoming overextended, which is the source of most holiday stress.

Live in the Moment

Once you’ve established what traditions delectrician¬† and activities you’ll be participating in, live them. Be there, in the moment. Pay attention to what is going on and who you are with. Don’t be thinking about the next thing you’ve got to do or the items that you still haven’t crossed off your Christmas list. The holidays are meant to be enjoyed. They provide a needed change from our mundane lives, but you’ll miss those enjoyable moments if you’re not present in them. So, enjoy those moments with your family and friends, celebrating not only the season, but your relationships with each other.

Keep it Simple and Know Your Limits

Next, keep it simple. You have to set realistic expectations and know your limits. Perhaps this year, you just aren’t as flush with cash as in previous years. You may only be able to buy one present for your child instead of five. Overspending will only increase your holiday stress, both during and after the holidays, as you struggle to pay off your credit card bills. You have to decide what is just enough and not go over your limits. This may necessitate a heart-to-heart talk with your children, as you explain to them that you won’t be able to indulge all their wishes as you have in the past. Most of the people in your life aren’t nearly as concerned about what they’re getting from you as you are anxious about what you are able to give. Keep it simple. One simple, thoughtful gift, given in love, can be better than multiple presents given by stressed, overwrought people who are clinging to sanity, and financial solvency, by a thin thread.



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