It’s Okay to Have a Drink When You’re Stressed. (But Read This First.)

“It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year” is one of the most popular Christmas songs of all time. “Everyone telling you, ‘Be of good cheer,’” sings Andy Williams in his 1963 holiday tune. But this holiday season, it might take a little more than a nostalgic song to get into the holiday spirit. For some people, that might be a mug of eggnog or a glass or two of wine. There’s a widespread assumption that alcohol cheers you up and reduces stress. And while it’s true that alcohol is an anesthetic and can blunt the brain and body’s response to stressful events, the relationship between alcohol and stress relief is complex. Writer Markham Heid details the science behind why sipping a hot toddy under the Christmas tree can feel like relief — and why it’s healthier for the brain to drink in small doses. Read his full piece below.

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