What will family gatherings be like as the holidays begin? “The presidential race has made it a tough year on relationships between family members who don’t agree on politics,” says Dr. Noelle Nelson, author of The Power of Appreciation and Happy Healthy…Dead. “That rawness is still going to be around during the holidays as we gather to celebrate the season.”
Nelson suggest that “the perfect holiday present we can give family this year isn’t one wrapped in sparkly red-and-green ribbon, but rather one lovingly wrapped in good intentions.”
Nelson provides these guidelines to follow during the holidays to keep relationships—and gatherings–peaceful.
- Cease to complain or argue when you hear something that you don’t like. Period. Zip it, put a lid on it, change the subject, go to your happy place. Do whatever it takes to stop an argument before it starts. No one is going to change someone else’s mind.
- Take responsibility for your situation. If you don’t like what someone says and you feel your blood pressure rise, walk away. You may not have control over the words and actions of your crazy Uncle Harry, but you have control of what you say and do. And by the way, keeping your blood pressure under control is good for your cardiovascular system, which leads to a longer, healthier life.
- Find common ground. Focus on whatever you can genuinely appreciate. It could be great taste of your mom’s pumpkin pie, catching up on family member activities or celebrating the addition of a new baby niece or nephew. With just a tiny bit of effort, you can find something of value and joy that can be shared with others.
“Does this approach take patience, determination, persistence?” says Nelson. “Sure, but it’s well worth the try—and a small yet meaningful contribution toward peace on earth, goodwill towards all.”