Ithaca Blog

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Tidings of Comfort and Joy Verifiable

Don't worry if you feel happy at the holidays. It turns out to be normal.

Despite occasional warnings from health professionals about the stresses of gift-giving and get-togethers (and the cinematic image of jittery Jimmy Stewart careening towards the Bedford Falls bridge on Christmas Eve in "It's A Wonderful Life"), studies show that suicide rates approach an annual low in December.

Researchers speculate that nearness to loved ones counters not only whatever stress the holidays might hold, but also the ancillary ailment of Seasonal Affective Disorder, a depressive syndrome brought on by the short days of winter.

So don't hesitate to turn on your love light for friends and family this season. You're doing them quantifiable medical good. Yourself, too.

Stephen Burke
for Ithaca Blog

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