In the previous post, I talked about how our families can bring out the worst in us and how we often revert to our old habits and patterns when we spend time with them. With today’s post I will share with you a few strategies to help you avoid being pulled back into old patterns. Many of you have already been reading 30 Days of Gratitude and have begun to implement some new habits. Here are a few simple strategies to keep them going when you’re faced with family challenges this summer:
- As your schedule is disrupted or altered with family visits or a family vacation, pick one or two habits that are MOST important to you and make time for them daily. This will help keep you grounded and less likely to become frustrated or angry when things don’t work out. A few suggestion include walking in nature, 10 minutes of meditation, daily gratitude before bed, exercise, reading an inspirational book or The Bible, and prayer or simply giving thanks.
- When faced with a heated family situation, do your best to breathe deeply and allow yourself to look at the situation objectively (if possible). What are you truly angry about? What is frustrating you? Is it possible to find something to be grateful for in this moment? Do you need to eat (low blood sugar can cause serious moods swings in many people, myself included)?
- Ask your family to help you out with your new gratitude practice. Have them remind you to be grateful if you’re frustrated or upset. In return, ask if it’s ok to share with them some of your gratitude practices.
- Try laughter – works great if you have kids, start by tickling a youngster and this usually breaks up any tension.
- And if none of this works and you’re still in a tense situation – take a break and walk away for a moment to diffuse tension and allow everyone to regroup. Sometimes all it takes is space and you’re able to get back into a more positive and helpful state. Let them know you’re waking away before you say or do something you’ll regret and stop talking immediately.
Here’s hoping none of you have to use these strategies this summer! How does your family deal with conflict? Any other ideas I have missed?