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Psychologist Reveals Three Strategies For Avoiding Festive Fights This Christmas

By Darragh Berry

December 20, 2017 at 3:55pm

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Sure, it wouldn't be Christmas if someone didn't have a falling out. There's no mistaking it, you're always going to be 99.9% extremely excited for Christmas but that tiny 0.01% of fear will always be made up of thoughts about what possible fights could occur over the festive period. 

However, there is a coping mechanism to help deal with - or possibly avoid at all cost - Christmas fights.

Psychologist Nicholas Joyce from the University of South Florida believes there are three coping strategies for spending Christmas Day with relatives.

In his piece for The Conversation, Joyce believes it's all about accepting, analysing and taking action.

Step 1: The power of acceptance

If your partner is going to be working over Christmas, if your sibling is going to tease you like they always do or maybe your mother will say something about your appearance. 

It's all about going into the holiday with the mindset that these things could happen and therefore, if and when they do happen, it won't influence you as much...

"Entering with this reality makes us less reactive and more capable of choosing what if anything we want to do about this dynamic."

Step 2: To change or let go

"I teach my clients a life skill called the 'letting go process.' It involves three steps:

  • Notice and allow an experience to be there.
  • Decide if the experience is useful or not.
  • If useful, do something about it. If not, let it go."

Say, your mother makes a comment about your appearance or your social life.

  • You note that the comment has offended you and your feelings have changed.
  • You must now consider the usefulness of these feelings 
  • Decide whether to go down the 'change route' (say something and try to change her views) or 'let go' (let the comment pass which will in turn make you less reactive to similar future comments)

Step 3: Putting it into practice

"As you head into your holiday events, take a minute to notice what thoughts, feelings and urges come up for you. This is just information, and all of it can help us prepare a plan."

There you have it, hopefully these methods will help you avoid a Christmas fight this year.

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