According to a survey by Ocado nearly a quarter of Britons find Christmas shopping more stressful than flying or rush hour traffic and the reason for this, according to psychologist Dr. David Lewis, is because the crowds cause a primal “fight or flight” mechanism.
Personally I am of the flight mentality, but for others the sheer volume of people in the shops brings out our basic survival mechanisms which increase aggression – hence all those sharp elbows and trolley barging! Long queues, parking headaches can lead to frustration, irritation, exhaustion and anxiety. We see other people as a threat, especially strangers and of course slow moving people – those who suddenly stop in front of you to have a look around at the goodies on offer or check their Christmas lists, are now the enemy. Woe betide you if you just want to take your time and enjoy the festive window displays!
Dr. Lewis says that all this stress causes our heart rate to increase, we start sweating and produce more of the stress hormone Cortisol, and this encourages aggressive behaviour and distress, and when we are distressed we just want to flee. So why do we put ourselves though this every year – no wonder online shopping seems so attractive these days!
So this year my family has opted for the Secret Santa route and it is such a relief, almost a Christmas gift in itself I think!
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