‘Tis season to be stressed (and why you don’t have to be)

The holidays can be stressful – between wrapping presents, overeating, reflecting on the past year, and shopping for presents – there is a lot to deal with. But many of these common issues can be explained (and combated) with science. Read what our Vanderbilt researchers have to say about these four common holiday stressors:

WRAPPING PRESENTS

Scenario: You spend hours wrapping presents, ensuring that each bow is tied perfectly and there’s not any visible tape.

The reason: You want your friends, families, and acquaintances to see how much effort you put into their gift. But research from Erick Mas, a postdoctoral scholar at the Owen Graduate School of Management, says that for close friends and family, you shouldn’t spend the time. Read why here.

OVEREATING AT THE HOLIDAYS

Scenario: You eat more than usual due to all the parties this time of year, and find yourself cleaning your plate to avoid being ‘rude.’

The reason: We convince ourselves it’s not that unhealthy to eat a couple more bites, and we don’t want to be wasteful. But according to marketing professor Kelly Haws, there’s a solution. Find out what it is here.

REFLECTING ON THE YEAR & YOUR HAPPINESS (OR LACK THEREOF)

Scenario: You start to notice that money is short and you’re not where you want to be in life.

The reason: After basic needs, everyone wants to improve their lives for themselves and their children, which we correlate with more money. But research from anthropologist and World Health Organization wellbeing adviser Ted Fischer says that the “good life” isn’t about money. Read how to start living the “good life” here.

/Public Release. View in full here.