Anger Management Techniques for Family Holiday Gatherings
The holiday season may be the most important time of all to use anger management techniques. While family celebrations can be the most wonderful experiences of the holidays they also have the most potential for angry fights. After all, while you may love your family you’ve also had a whole lifetime to build up resentments towards them too. Add the stress of the holidays and a little booze and you may have a recipe for disaster.
Because of this its good to plan ahead. What have been anger triggers for problems in the past? Maybe your brother in law Steve has started things out by drinking too much which caused your sister Betty to get all lathered up which in turn caused Steve to go off because he felt she was trying to ruin his holiday by telling him what to do.
If there have been no problems in the past is there potential for any this year? Is anyone feuding with anyone else? Is there someone who gets on everyone’s nerves?
Once you’ve identified potential flash points ask yourself what you can do differently this year. Would limiting alcohol to a glass of wine for a toast at dinner make for a more peaceful day? Would not expecting people to travel long distances or perhaps arranging for them to stay at a hotel cut down on the stress?
If there is a problem person, say Steve, who drinks too much or tends to do things that gets on peoples nerves you might want to think about having a chat with this person sometime before the holiday celebration. Its best if you could talk in person and that you approach this person in a caring fashion, conveying that your concern is to help him or her have a better holiday celebration than in years past. For instance, you could discuss how you would be more comfortable if a particular topic (insert family feud issue here) were avoided, so that everyone can have a nice family gathering. Be sure to use “I” and “we” language, instead of “you.” By discussing how “We would feel more comfortable if…” this will avoid making the family member with whom you are talking feel as if they are being accused.
Here are four tips to make holiday celebrations with family members more pleasant:
Holiday Anger Management Technique #1 Be careful about the amount of alcohol served. As Homer Simpson says “Alcohol – the cure to and the cause of all of life’s problems.” Alcohol may help to loosen you up and relax, but different people react in different ways to alcohol. We’ve all heard of the mean drunk. Or somebody may be too relaxed and let something slip which starts a fight. Try to keep it down to two drinks maximum.
Holiday Anger Management Technique #2: Be realistic about your family. If Uncle Roy has told the same story year after year, he’s going to do it again. If your Aunt Tilly has a habit of criticizing everything she is still going to do that. Tell yourself that you only have to see him or her for a few hours once a year. See if you can find some humor in it. Ask yourself how important it really is – will it really make any difference to your life tomorrow or next week? Putting things in perspective is one of the most powerful anger management techniques I know of.
Holiday Anger Management Technique #3: Let bygones be bygones. People often think of their anger as a way of keeping the one who hurt them in a kind of emotional prison. As long as they held onto the anger and bitterness, the wrongdoer stays in jail. But when you really stop and think about it, the only one who is really in an emotional prison is you. More often than not, the person you are pissed at is either unaware, doesn’t care or simply don’t give it as much thought as you. Meanwhile, you walk around stewing and obsessing over the wrong that was done to you. Your anger ends up affecting you more than the one who hurt you.
It’s the holidays – give yourself the gift of letting go of old grudges. Forgive and forget!
Holiday Anger Management Technique #4 Try to be more empathic. We all see the world differently and as crazy or irritating as some people’s behaviors might be it can look very different when seen through their eyes. Seeing the world through someone else’s perspective is the magic bullet for anger – it just melts away.
To learn more anger management techniques for the holidays, watch your free introductory anger management class.