7 scientifically backed simple tricks to relieve stress now

 There are some great tips here that we can all benefit from during the holidays.

SALT LAKE CITY — Your normal life is already busy so it’s no wonder when you add in extra demands for the end-of-year holidays, stress levels skyrocket.

But why are we so stressed? During the holidays, 69 percent of Americans are stressed about lack of time and 69 percent are stressed about lack of money, according to the American Psychological Association. There’s a lot of added pressure for parents to make sure their children have “the best Christmas ever.”

Americans spend about 42 hours a year on holiday activities, including buying and wrapping presents, attending holiday parties and traveling to and from family gatherings. While it may be possible to opt out of some events, other celebrations may be non-negotiable.

When the stress gets to be too much, instead of turning to holiday treats, try these scientifically backed simple tricks to keep your sanity.

Meditation has deep roots in Southeast Asia and was made popular in the 1960s by The Beatles, according to project-meditate.org. Studies have shown that meditation can decrease cortisol, the stress hormone, by helping people to better cope when stressful situations occur.

There are many types of meditation, including self-guided and mantra meditation and yoga. If you need more instruction, you can also use an online-led meditation guide.

Double your pleasure and potentially triple your fun this holiday season. Add a pack or two next time you’re checking out at the grocery store. A 2008 study showed that people who chewed gum had lower cortisol levels and felt less anxiety than those who didn’t. As an added bonus, chewing gum can also make you more alert.

You might want to put the mistletoe up early this year. Kissing someone can increase oxytocin and decrease cortisol and spending quality time with a romantic partner has also been shown to reduce stress levels.