Three Tips for Getting Through Thanksgiving Conflict

A while back, a NY Times article about food, kin and tension at Thanksgiving by TARA PARKER-POPE caught my eye.  Pope shares several tales of woe and some insights, including the following:

“As families gather around the country this week to celebrate Thanksgiving, many of them are bracing for the intense emotions of the holiday meal. The combination of food and family often brings out longstanding tensions, criticism and battles for control. Simple issues like cooking with butter or asking for seconds are fraught with family conflict and commentary.”

Sadly, I’ve sat at that table of criticism and felt vulnerable and abused.  So what to do if this sounds like your upcoming blessed event?  Three little ideas to keep in your pocket to help get you through the holiday:

1) Create a sense of calm by breathing deeply. Notice that when you breathe in and out for four counts, three or four times in a row, it is hard to be tense.  Find the place of deep relaxation within you through by focusing on your breath.  You know it’s there.  When things get testy, get relaxed.  Take a breathing break.  Maybe the snide remark won’t mean so much to you.

2) Play the grateful game.  Challenge yourself to be grateful for everything for the day. Feel grateful that you have a family and/or friends to share Thanksgiving with, even if they are annoying.  Take a moment to feel grateful for every mouthful of food you consume. Chew slowly, taste every bite.  And, if someone says something snide, you can respond from a grateful place, and maybe invite them to participate.

Here’s a for instance: What if you hear, “Don’t you think you’ve eaten enough dessert Catherine?”  One example of a grateful response you could use (but only if you believe it) is, “I am so grateful that you care about me Aunt Rita and that I’m able to spend this time with you.  In fact, I am really enjoying every single bite of this delicious dessert.”  You can then move on, or ask Aunt Rita, “What are you grateful for today?”

3) Give yourself permission to do whatever is most loving for you.  Allow yourself to take charge of your own life for this one day. (Wouldn’t it be great if you could do that every day?)  Love and accept whatever choices you make – as long as you are not purposefully seeking to cause pain to yourself or someone else.  Call in sick if you really can’t face the gang, or allow yourself to eat a huge portion of pie and more – if it makes you happy.   If guilt rears its ugly head – remember that you lovingly chose your actions to nurture yourself. If you are truly at peace with your choices, then what others say won’t matter much.

Read the archived NY Times article here: http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/11/23/turkey-with-family-drama-on-the-side/

So tell us, what are your tips for Thanksgiving?

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Date: Thursday, 17. November 2011 19:03
Trackback: Trackback-URL Category: Family, Relationships, Wellness

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1 Comment

  1. 1

    Playing the grateful game is such great advice! It really shifts your energy and brings out positivity in a stressful environment. Happy Holidays!

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