By Natasha Sharma
Back when I was a psychology grad student at Johns Hopkins, I took a class with a special focus on anxiety. Somewhere in the textbook for this course, there was a rank ordered list of stressful life events that could potentially lead to psychological distress, fittingly called a “stress scale”. As I scanned the list, I saw many of the usual suspects: divorce, dismissal from work, taking on a major mortgage or foreclosure of a house. Then my eyes flashed across a word I wasn’t expecting: Christmas. Incidentally, it ranked as more stressful a life event than experiencing a minor legal infraction! At first, the foolish student in me laughed, but the more I thought about it the more it made sense.