Whether it’s the thought of driving on crowded highways, airports and train stations, or unpredictable weather, the most common holiday stress comes from the drama and conflict of family visits.
Let’s face it, family holiday visits tend to happen once a year. When they do, we reconnect with people we have not kept up with. We might not even like them very much, or share anything in common. Yes, they are family but life now is wider and filled with experiences, adventures, relationships, and endeavors family does not even know about.
One of the openings for LOVING family holiday gathering is: Ask people what they have been up to…what are they excited about… Then LISTEN…don’t debate, argue, offer, or advise…just listen and acknowledge… They then may do the same to you. But if not, it’s no big deal. This gathering is not about YOU or any one family member.
Most families have (at least) one toxic member. So, if they bring nasty emotional leftovers from previous gatherings or family history, do not partake!
Here are 7 tips to get you through this year’s family holiday gathering:
- One of the openings for LOVING family holiday gathering is: Ask people what they have been up to – what are they excited about.
- Be an observer. Pretend you have a bag a popcorn and are just watching the show.
- Consciously put on a non-argumentative mindset when politics, religion or other hooks are thrown out. Just notice and stay unattached.
- Deflect the emotional hooks that typically snag you. Use this ‘fogging” technique. Say things like “you may be right.” Don’t engage in debate. Give them the satisfaction and confusion of your agreement. After all, right and wrong are just opinions.
- Practice mindfulness – Be in the now. Be present in each moment and notice your internal (emotional and physical) reactions. Use a 7 second delay like live media does. Replace reacting with chosen responses, including nodding your head and silence.
- Be careful with alcohol! It can turn good family gatherings bad, in a heartbeat. Control your own consumption and be careful with over-indulgers. Avoid engaging in angry or belligerent conversations.
- Establish an escape route. If you are concerned you may not be able to stay mindful and avoid conflict, have a place you have to go, or a reason to leave early…
Do the best you can to create a new experience, a new story and new memories. Follow these tips to become an unhookable ‘participant observer,’ and see what changes!
These are just a few of the many practices I cover in my Getting Naked Program. I’m giving away a whole lot more for free from now until New Years Eve.
Just visit GettingNakedProgram.com and enter your name and email to watch my free seminar video and read my free e-book.
Happy Holidays indeed!