Thursday, December 15, 2022

Ways for calming down tense situations at gatherings

Are there holiday arguments brewing? Here’s how to defuse them.

Are there holiday arguments brewing? Here’s how to defuse them.

The holidays, as described by idealists, are hardly the time for conflicts. They are meant to be filled with love, laughter, goodwill, and those small sparkling lights that create a joyful atmosphere. Unfortunately, cheerful celebration sometimes devolves into an epic disagreement when family and friends assemble during the season. However, you can avoid conflicts if you plan ahead and remain vigilant for potential triggers. 

Why do we quarrel around the holidays?

In many ways, we are primed for holiday conflict. "It is a moment of stress." Buying gifts might lead to financial difficulties. The temperature is falling. The days are darker. "We're trying to manage work and obtain time off," says Justin Gillis, a clinical therapist at Harvard-affiliated McLean Hospital. 

The holidays may sometimes evoke traumatic memories or force us to confront unfavorable aspects of our lives, such as a lack of family or close support. Consequently, we are frequently emotionally susceptible over the holidays, according to Gillis. It is difficult to handle overwhelming emotions, appropriately explain ourselves, and be honest and nonjudgmental. 

"Increased emotional arousal has an effect on our reasoning and subsequent actions." "Consequently, we may become more protective or express ourselves in conflict-provoking ways," Gillis explains. 

Due to the fact that alcohol reduces inhibitions and makes it more difficult to maintain composure and calmness, drinking alcohol at holiday parties can also fuel disputes. In a poll conducted by the American Addiction Centers in 2021, 57% of 3,400 respondents reported having at least one family member who becomes confrontational during holiday celebrations after consuming too much alcohol.

Prepare beforehand to assist in defusing emotions and resolving disputes. 

It is difficult to maintain emotional control in a heated situation. A little bit of preparation can help you avoid potential arguments and take appropriate action if they occur. Here are some useful tips. 

Set a time restriction. Inform your guests in advance of what time the activities will end if you are the host. If you are attending the event, inform the host in advance of the time you must leave. Gillis advises, "Stick to the plan, even if things are going well, so you can end on a high note.

Ask for help. To assist you in reining in reactivity, ask someone you trust to give you a sign if a conversation appears to be unsafe or escalating. "They may interject and request that you do something, which is code for "withdraw or take a break." This will ensure that you are distinct from the topic," Gillis says. 

Scheduled breaks. Consider when and how you can take breaks during the gathering. This affords you the chance to assess your emotions. "You might move into another room and take a moment to breathe deeply, volunteer to help prepare the table or clean up, or excuse yourself to make a phone call, even if nothing is wrong," Gillis recommends. These can be pleasant diversions that reduce the likelihood of confrontation. 

Prepare deflection phrases. If you anticipate that your loved ones may ask questions that will lead to conflict, you should plan and practise a response. "Make a comment acknowledging the person's feelings and informing them that it is preferable to change the subject," advises Gillis. He recommends using a variation of the following statements: 

"I value your opinions, but let's discuss something on which we agree or agree to disagree.

" "I care about you, but I’m starting to feel unhappy, and I don’t want to continue this terrible talk.

" "I appreciate and respect your passion for this topic, but I cannot continue discussing it.

How to de-escalate arguments.

If you discover that intense disputes or arguments are forming or have already erupted, you can still take steps to diffuse the situation. Use the deflection comments you have practised, or excuse yourself from the conversation to do something else. Other things to remember: Do not accept the bait. 

Do not respond to nosy inquiries if you do not wish to. "Change the topic." "Move the focus back onto the other individual and ask how they’re doing," Gillis adds. And if someone asks a loaded question (such as, "I guess you voted for that candidate?"), employ humour if appropriate ("Let’s chat about the Bruins instead") and shift the subject or the activity. 

Adjust your mindset. "We have to understand that there are viewpoints we don’t like and that engaging in conflict isn’t likely to influence anyone’s perspective," Gillis says. You have the option of avoiding toxic conversations. 

React with courtesy. "If someone is furious with you, it suggests that they value your opinion." "Remember that and strive to maintain a caring position and response," Gillis recommends.

Don't forget why you're there. The purpose of the gathering is to celebrate, not to resolve sensitive or contentious matters. "There is a holiday. "It doesn't have to be the day when everyone lays down their cards to solve problems," Gillis says, "but it should be festive and fun so that you can feel like you've made a good Christmas memory together."


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