Holiday Family Gatherings: How to Stay Sane During the Holidays

We all want our holiday family gatherings to be times of positive, loving  interactions and of basking in the warm feeling that comes from being with people we love.

However, this is often not the case for many people. For these folks, and maybe you are one of them, these holiday family gatherings can be a source of great stress because of the expectation of conflict and dysfunction. These type of holiday family gatherings have the potential to steal your holiday cheer and leave you in a bad place for weeks.

The truth is that sometimes the people we love can get under our skin.They can say and do things that trigger negative reactions in us such as anger, irritation and sadness, causing us to strike back, making the situation worse.

Politics,religion, and people interfering in your personal life or business are just a few of the triggers that can be the cause of arguments, conflict and tension at holiday family gatherings.

Throw alcohol into the mix and these holiday family gatherings can become volatile to the point that after the party is over, family members are not even speaking to each other.  How to deal with these potentially stressful situations?

The key is to be prepared.  You could simply decide not to go or attempt to fake your own death to get out of it. However, if you do decide to attend your holiday family gatherings, here are some suggestions on how to stay calm and in control.

How to prepare and deal with holiday family gatherings.

1. Have an intention and decide your outcome ahead of time. Be clear about how you want to be at the holiday family gatherings. Have a goal for how you want to feel and respond. Create the outcome that you will leave feeling good about your visit.

For instance, suppose that every time you get together with your mother, you get impatient and frustrated, leaving you to you feel terrible afterwards. Before you see her again, make it your goal to be calm, loving, patient and kind. You might even write it down: “My intention is to be calm loving, patient and kind when I see my mother on Christmas day.”

Of course, you can also have the intention that you’re going to verbally destroy  anyone that attempts to mess with you at the holiday family gatherings, but this is not a good way to stay sane during the holidays.

2. Identify the triggers. Think back to previous family gatherings about what happened that triggered negative emotions or reactions from you. Is it what someone says or does? Is it a particular topic of conversation? If you are aware of the potential negative triggers, and can keep your  positive outcome in mind, you are more likely to stay in control.

3. Have a response ready when these triggers occur. If your outcome is to be calm, centered and balanced during holiday family gatherings, then decide what you will you do when the triggers appear. For instance, when someone brings up that topic of discussion that you know is going to cause trouble, you might:

  • Smile and say, “I really don’t want to talk about that right now.”
  • Excuse yourself and go to the restroom or go outside and take some deep breaths.
  • Make a joke out of it and change the subject.
  • Use the STOP method: Stop, Take a breath, Observe your body, emotions and thoughts, and proceed in a way that honors you, the other and your relationship.

Of course, as a last resort, you can always be prepared to leave if things get too out of hand. It’s a tough choice but sometimes it’s the right one.

4. Create your own positive trigger. This is a technique where you have a “power word”, phrase or a physical action that triggers a positive response. Put yourself into a relaxed state before you go to the holiday family function. You can imagine yourself in a relaxing place, or just breathe and release stress and tension. On each exhalation, say your word or phrase, such as “Calm” or “I can deal with this” or “In control”. Do something physical such as rub your fingers together while you are doing this. The idea is that you form an association between rubbing your fingers/saying your power word with a relaxed state so that when you feel those negative triggers threatening to derail you, you can use your positive trigger to get back to being calm, centered and balanced.

You may not be able to change your family dynamic, but you can always have control over how you respond. This holiday season, see if you can let go of the past, stay in present, and expect only the best from the future.

Need help? Someone to talk to? Contact me by clicking here.

Ted

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The Story of The 2 Boxes and Releasing Limitations

releasing limitations

Let me tell you the story of the 2 boxes.

There are 2 boxes that exist in everyone’s life.

The 1st box represents a person’s actual limitations.

For instance, I will probably never play center for the Los Angeles Lakers.

Why?

Because I’m not 7 feet tall, and don’t play basketball.

See?

That’s an actual, physical limitation.

And of course, everyone has this box in their lives.

However, there’s a 2nd box that exists in everyone’s lives – and this 2nd box represents a person’s PERCEIVED limitations.

This 2nd box is created by all the doubts, fears, and insecurities a person has.

  • “I can’t ever be relaxed and have fun…I have too much anxiety…”
  • I can’t make a lot of money… I just not greedy enough…smart enough…motivated enough…”
  • “I can’t be in a relationship…too many issues…too much fear…”
  • “I can’t ever be confident enough to speak in public…I’m just too nervous…”
  • “I can’t ever quit smoking…I just don’t have the willpower…”

The sad part?

The 2nd box is usually MUCH smaller than the 1st box!

Meaning, it’s often our own doubts, fears, and insecurities that hold us back from claiming the success we desire so much!

Meaning, you are capable of so much more than you think you are!

Meaning, you can overcome most – if not ALL – of the challenges you come across in whatever it is that you choose to take on.

But most people let their self-imposed 2nd box create an imaginary barrier between them and their success and happiness!

The reality?

This 2nd box usually doesn’t exist!

So the next time you encounter a challenge on your way to doing what you really want to do, have or be, think of the 2 boxes.

Is your challenge created by a real limitation?

Or are you constraining yourself with a self-imposed 2nd box?

Now, there are many tools and resources available to help you begin releasing limitations and vaporize your self-imposed 2nd box.

You just have to be aware of these resources when you come across them.

Releasing Limitations Using the Moreno Method

For example, you can give me a call, and using the Moreno Method for Life Transformation, I can help you start releasing limitations that are holding you back.

I’ll ask you to make a commitment to yourself to take action on your dreams, goals and desires.

Afterwards, I’ll send you home with a recording to listen to that will begin to reprogram your mind for success at whatever you choose to do.

I’ll even call you to check in and provide accountability and coaching.

So if you’ve ever been frustrated that you can’t even get started down the road to doing what you really want to do, whether it’s gaining confidence, getting healthier or making more money, then that reasoning has just become a 2nd box limitation.

I want to help you vaporize that 2nd box so that it never stops you again.

Then you can now simply reach out and claim your success.

Questions? Want to talk about the possibilities that exist for you after releasing limitations? Click here to get in touch with me. Time to get out of that box!

Ted

How to Figure Out Your Relationship

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One Valentines Day back in the 90s, I was out to dinner with a woman I had just started seeing. She had thoughtfully arranged for a card and a gift to be at the table when we arrived. We were sitting at a table that had a small electric lamp.   As were talking, I noticed that if I moved my foot, it moved the cord to the lamp and the lamp would jiggle just a bit.

“Ooh!” I joked. “The lamp is haunted!”

My date then got very upset. “Can’t we be romantic here? Do you have to joke and cut up right now? You’re ruining it!” Read more