Mangled Up in Tangled Up Knots: How to Stop Stress and Anxiety From Spoiling Your Holidays

If you believe the commercials, the holiday season is a bottomless bowl of peace, joy, relaxation, and happiness. Unfortunately, the reality is that for many people the holidays are a source of significant stress, anxiety, worry, and frustration. But this does not have to be the case.

Dr. Michael Himle discusses how to manage anxiety and stress during the holidays. The presentation began by discussing why the holidays are often a particularly challenging time for many individuals with Tourette Syndrome.

Participants then learned about proven, practical, evidence-based cognitive and behavioral strategies for recognizing, minimizing, and managing stress and anxiety during the holidays, with particular attention paid to the added stressors (and opportunities!) created by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

“It is my hope that with a little planning and a positive perspective, all participants will find more happiness this holiday season.” – Dr. Himle

Key Takeaways:

  1. Anxiety and stress are to be expected during the holidays.
  2. Several aspects of TS can be a source of stress, and stress can exacerbate tics.
  3. Knowing yourself, your anxiety triggers, and planning ahead can help you be proactive in minimizing stress and anxiety during the holidays.
  4. Relatively simple cognitive and behavioral strategies can help reduce stress and anxiety when they occur.
  5. The COVID-19 pandemic is likely to add significant stress this year, but is also a potential opportunity to make positive changes.
  6. It is possible to find peace, joy, and happiness this holiday season, regardless of your situation.
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About Dr. Michael Himle

Michael B. Himle, Ph.D. earned his Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee in 2007. He is currently an Associate Professor in the Department of Psychology at the University of Utah. He is an expert in behavioral approaches for understanding and treating behavioral disorders of childhood, with emphasis on tic disorders and associated conditions. He is active in researching environmental factors and behavioral processes involved in the onset and course of these conditions and translating this information into more effective non-pharmacological treatments. He is also interested in dissemination strategies for behavior therapy. He has published more than 40 peer-reviewed publications and book chapters and has given more than 80 conference presentations and invited talks on Tourette Syndrome and related conditions. His research has received funding from the Tourette Syndrome Association and the National Institutes of Health.