Family focus during the holidays eases financial stress

Kathleen Blanchard's picture
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Building new traditions during the holidays can help ease fiinancial and personal stress, according to Martha Wadsworth, associate professor of psychology at the University of Denver. Wadsworth says winter holidays should be a time to “get back to what is important” – spending time with people that you love. Focus on family can make us happier and healthier by easing financial and emotional stress with the upcoming holidays – an important note reminder during a tough economy.

"Psychological research has shown over and over again that what truly makes people happy is not money, not stuff, it's time with people you love”, according to the UD researcher. Holiday time is an excellent opportunity to remember what really makes us happy in the long-run. Happiness and positive emotions have a lifetime impact on overall health.

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Focusing on family can not only ease financial stress during the holidays: it can also lend to new family traditions, creating sustainable memories that lead to more satisfaction in life.

Dr. Wadsworth’s research is focused on children and families, and the psychological impact of financial and other overwhelming stress. Her suggestions to ease holiday stress related to finances are aimed at building new traditions, like planting a tree, or volunteering at a soup kitchen or engaging in other charitable activities. Giving of your time can provide new focus.

"Children who still believe in Santa Claus don't really know price tags very well, so you can give them lots of boxes with little things inside," says Wadsworth. "If they're old enough to not believe in Santa, then parents can have a conversation with them about how things are going to be different this year, but they're going to be good." Making family time a focus can ease holiday financial stress during a tough economy, and is an important reminder given the upcoming holiday season.

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