For many, this is the busiest time of year. As a reporter, I interact with people in various career fields, with different families and different sources of stress. One thing remains constant — each person has a reason to be stressed. Jam-packed schedules leave parents running to and from recitals, ball games and shopping trips. Business people scramble to get in orders and reports before the end of the year.

According to researchers from Carnegie Mellon University, there is one thing that can help reduce our stress not only during this, the busiest of all seasons, but year round. As stress is created by either worrying about the future or being distracted by the past, we should focus on our present — what we are doing right this very moment.

If we did that would we still be stressed? Chances are the answer is no.

Don’t believe me? Let’s give it a try. If you are currently feeling the overwhelming pangs of anxiety that tend to accompany an inability to find that perfect gift for your mother — or worse your mother-in-law — think about what you are doing right at this moment.

If you find yourself in a warm place, reading a newspaper and drinking a cup of coffee, you have proved my point. Life at this very moment isn’t stressful. We make it stressful by worrying about what will happen five minutes from now.

For all you know a stroke of inspiration will hit you while reading this paper and the problem of how to get little Suzie to dance class and still pick up little Tommy from practice will solve itself. Maybe a friend will call and offer to help pick one of them up? Who knows. But what I do know for certain is that by stressing about the future, we rob ourselves of the present.

Happy birthday to Nancy Morrison, Pat LeMaire and Fred Watkins, all of Sherman; and Ben Barclay of Bonham.