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Social psychologists are discovering an interesting trend among Americans during this economic recession regardless of whether they have been directly affected by the financial downturn. Researchers are recognizing that Americans are decreasing their spending, clipping coupons, not frequenting shopping malls, and planting fruit and vegetable gardens in their backyards. In addition, the Monitor on Psychology (July/August 2009) stated that households planning to grow their own foods rose to 19% over the last year. In addition, American’s are wasting less and trash has decreased by 30%. Plastic surgeons are also reporting a decrease in cosmetic surgical procedures.  

The consumerist mindset has lead people to acquire materialist items and ignore what is truly important to them. This credit-fueled over-indulgence is decreasing due to the recession. People are reflecting on what is most important to them, such as their family, friends, and health. A lack of financial extravagance helps individuals reconnect to their values and whether they are leading their lives in congruence to those values.  

The question remains, “Will Americans revert back to their old habits of over-consumption once the economy rebounds?” Is it possible that the economic crisis is an opportunity for positive change that leads to less greed, egotism and more social connection? Research suggests that materialism does not bring happiness, rather our relationships and spiritual connection gives us a sense of purpose in life. Our connection to our community is essential for our survival and mental and emotional health.  

*For more information, please contact Dr. Drecun at [Link Removed] 

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