Originally published 11/20/13:
5. Booking plane travel is a breeze with a cheesy treat in each fist. Flights home for the holidays are expensive, and you're bound to end up with at least one red-eye with a 6-hour layover in Dallas-Ft. Worth. But scientists at Cornell University have shown that you can keep travel-planning stress at bay with melty baked brie spread thickly onto homemade oat-flour scones. Gorging on salty, buttery foods like fresh pasta with cream sauce topped with crispy fried sage leaves releases enough endorphins that you'll barely notice how annoying it is to spend $600 for four days of travel.
4. Feel better about seeing judgmental family with brownies. Family is a wonderful thing—for a few hours at a time. But uncomfortable sleeping arrangements and too much togetherness can ruffle anyone's feathers. Keep from going over the edge with doctor-recommended peppermint swirl brownies studded with chocolate chips and pieces of candy cane. Heck, shove one of these in grandma's mouth next time she opens it to ask if you're dating anyone. And you'll be surprised by how much better handfuls of leftover Halloween candy make you feel!
3. Hemorrhaging money for gifts? Try bacon. It's not just travel that's expensive around the holidays. Even if people claim you're "not doing gifts this year," there always end up being a million people on your present list. But crispy, juicy bacon peaking out from between two ends of a roll will make everything better. Money won't matter at all for the duration of those few, ecstatic bites. When the feeling runs out, don't try bargain hunting or cutting people off your list who didn't get you something last year or probably won't care. Just get more bacon.
2. Pizza is a sure cure for seasonal affective disorder. Got the winter blues? Reduced levels of sunlight mean a drop in serotonin, which can leave you feeling depressed and anxious. But if you were eating pizza, you'd feel good right? Think about those saucy, cheesy bubbles concealing crispy, chewy wood-fired crust. Mmm. Yeah, pizza would be amazing. It's such an all-consuming experience: opening the door to the deliveryman, lifting the lid on the box, the knowledge that for the next hour or so, this pizza is yours, and nothing—not your regrets about your past, not your crushing fear of leaving the house, not even your miserable self-doubt can stop you from experiencing pure, tomato-y pleasure. You'll feel right as rain in no time!
1. Packing on the pounds is less anxiety-provoking when you eat more. Temptations are everywhere during the holiday season, and between treats showing up at work, holiday parties, and big Christmas dinners, many of us find ourselves feeling a little thicker around the middle. But don't let anxiety about gaining weight bring you down! Therapists from the Center for Better Living advise you distract yourself with a homemade Nutella, bacon, and banana sandwich. The Nutella helps combat the fight-or-flight response, while the bacon gives you extra striationase, an important nutrient for ignoring your inner critic. You can always lose the weight in January!