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Chocolate for Less Stress

A very challenging year is almost over, although the stress and difficulties,
be they personal or political, is far from over for many people. I hope this
newsletter has given you some ideas about how to calm yourself in mind
and body. I have welcomed your ideas and feedback and I hope you keep
them coming.  In the future I will be doing this newsletter in blog format so
feedback can be read by anyone interested.

Currently I am the anxiety disorder expert for Goodtherapy and I am writing
a monthly article on anxiety related issues which can be found at  This is a blog so I hope to
read your comments.

Good News – a “chocolate cure”

Swiss scientists have found that people who eat about 1.4 counces of dark chocolate
daily seemed to experience less emotional stress. The study involved 30 people who
were classified in low and high anxiety traits using psychological questionnaires. Urine
and blood plasma were collected during three tests days at the beginning, middle, and
at the end of the 2-week study.  The subjects who were classified in the high anxiety
group had reduced levels of stress hormones.

It has also been demonstrated in other studies that dark chocolate (70% cocoa) reduces
blood pressure in some people.

However, let’s not forget that chocolate also has some caffeine that may not be helpful
to people sensitive to the effects of caffeine. Also, chocolate is a known migraine trigger,
can increase blood sugar levels, and has quite a few calories per ounce. Moderation is key.

Support Groups

A support group can be a helpful and low cost or no cost way to get on-going support
in your efforts to overcome problems with severe anxiety and the limitations it can
create in your life. To help you find one in your community go to


You are probably aware of how music can change your mood and reduce stress.
The following suggestions come from The Mozart Effect by Don Campbell to reduce

Mozart’s Laudate Dominum

          Mozart’s Symphony No. 39

          Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata

           Ravel’s La Nuit d’ete

           Debussy’s La Mer

Parting Words

From Eleanor Roosevelt (in You Learn by Living): “You gain strength, courage and confidence
by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You are able to say to
yourself, ‘I lived through this horror. I can take the next thing that comes along.’ You must
do the thing you think you cannot do.”

And, because we are going into a new year, I will quote Stephen Hawking from A Brief History
of Time:
“Where does this difference between the past and the future come from? Why do we remember the past and not the future?….The laws of science do not distinguish between the past and the future.”