Write Away Holiday Stress

      If stress tends to get the best of you -- especially during the holiday season -- Jackie Hooper stopped by to help. She is an Expressive Writing Expert and the author of "The Things You Would Have Said."

      To find out more about Jackie Hooper, check out her website.

      Jackie says you can write away your stress by doing one or all of the following writing exercises:

      Holiday Wish List: The night before the big event (Thanksgiving, Christmas, family arriving, etc.), make a list of your expectations. What do you hope will happen? What would you like to see happen? It can be anything from hoping your mom and brother won't fight, to hoping you get that spa weekend you wanted from your husband. This will set your intentions for the holiday and will help you start off on a positive, hopeful note.

      Recipe Relief: In the midst of the stress and chaos of the holidays, sometimes you need to take a second to let your mind wander. Instead of reading a recipe for stuffing or pumpkin pie, find a quiet room to quickly jot down a "recipe" for yourself that would help make you feel at ease. For example, you could write "2 margaritas, 1 massage therapist, 1 beach in Mexico, and 2 tubs of ice cream." The imagery will help you feel relaxed and might even make you laugh.

      Grateful for Eggnog: Sometimes it can be difficult to think of anything that you're grateful for when you are stressed and overwhelmed. Start making a list of things you're grateful for, beginning with the things right in front of you like eggnog and tree lights. You'll quickly notice that your list will move from inanimate objects to people and more meaningful ideas, broadening your perspective and allowing you to see the bigger picture.

      Mother-in-Law Haiku: Unfortunately, the holidays can be a time where a particular person really gets under your skin. Whether it's your mother-in-law, aunt, cousin, or sister, everything the person does can drive you nuts. Instead of taking your frustrations out on them, write a haiku. You can write three simple lines (5/7/5 syllables) to get things off your chest or develop a short mantra to help you make it through the tough moments. Haikus are short enough to where you can remember them and repeat them to yourself as often as necessary, without having to say anything negative to that special person.