Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Thanksgiving & Relief of Family Stress

Happy Thanksgiving Week and I know all I can think about is food, wine, friends and family. My children are excited to see relatives as they arrive at our home to share in the traditional meal my sister and I prepare according to the traditions created by our great grandparents and grandparents. We all are thankful we have each other and our health. Who better than siblings, parents, and other close relatives can reminisce with us about our childhoods, or remember pieces of ourselves we’ve forgotten?

This year will be bittersweet. My brother, sister, her family and my family celebrate being together in good health we will be sad at celebrating without our grandmother, our family anchor. Sadness will hang over our table since many other family members will not be in attendance for the first time in years due to post mortem drama.

My great grandparents and grandparents always created magical holidays with music, decorations, games, movies, food and love for us kids despite what was happening in their lives and despite any disagreements any family members might be having, which was usually the case.
Emotional stress can be as harmful as poor eating habits. Below are some tips to help reduce the stress of family during your holiday season. After all, this is a time to rejoice not stress!

Health Tip: Effective Communication: Reduce Stress at The Holidays
1. Listen Carefully –While it might be difficult, try really listening to what is being said without interruption, without being defensive, and without thinking about what you are going to say next. Just hear them and reflect back what they are saying so they know you’ve heard. Then you’ll understand them better and they’ll be more willing to listen to you.
2. Respond to Criticism with Empathy – Its important to listen for the other’s pain and respond with empathy for their feelings. Also, look for what’s true in what they’re saying: that can be valuable information for you.
3. Own What’s Yours – Realize that personal responsibility is a strength, not a weakness. Effective communication involves admitting when you are wrong. If you both share some responsibility in a conflict, look for and admit to what’s yours. It diffuses the situation, sets a good example, and shows maturity. It often inspires the other person to respond in kind, leading you both closer to mutual understanding and a solution
For more on improving relationships using effective communications skills to reduce holiday family stress visit: here.

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