How to find holiday happiness

How to find holiday happiness

By Deborah Rafferty for the Daily Utah Chronicle

The holiday season can be stressful for many people. From buying gifts to dealing with extended family members, there are many triggers that can cause holiday angst. The U department of educational psychology is hosting a seminar Thursday to teach students, faculty and community members about the various stress triggers associated with the holiday season.

Trish Henrie, a professor in the department of educational psychology, is researching the effects of positive psychology on holiday stress. Finding meaning, having good relationships, goal-setting and gratitude are some of the practices that combat holiday anxiety, she said.

“If you can find meaning, and it doesn’t have to be all about money, then it tends to make you have a happier holiday season,” said J.G. Farr, a professor of educational psychology.

Money and gift-giving are the most common stressors during the holiday season. Sixty-one percent of Americans believe a lack of money stresses them out the most during the holiday season, and 23 percent are concerned about credit card debt, according to a recent American Psychology Association survey.

Forty-two percent of Americans are stressed by the pressure of gift-giving, according to the survey. Other stressors include the physical demands of shopping and not exercising enough, Henrie said.

“People have expectations that certain things will happen during the holiday season,” Henrie said, adding that these expectations can add to the stress.

During the holidays, when students who have lived away from home return, it can be an uncomfortable situation with old family issues arising, Farr said. Learning to forgive before going home and letting go of old issues will lessen feelings of anger and anxiety, she said.

Gratitude can also be a good way to manage holiday stress…

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