By Lavern Nissley
As we head into the holidays and spend time with families and friends, many will experience fond memories and heartfelt joy. Others will experience the opposite, becoming acutely reminded of relationship dysfunctions. Many of us experience some of each.
So, how do you cope effectively in the middle of this seasonal insanity? Those emotional allergies and buttons have a physiological affect, don't they? Increased heart rate and breathing. Blood pressure pounding away at your skull. Stomach churning and knots forming. Help!!! What to do?
The goal at this point is NOT to try to change those around you, but to put your own heart and mind into a position of calm and courtesy. One of the easiest ways to accomplish this is to breathe deeply and press the "pause" button. This moves us, within a few minutes, from our emotional brain to the thinking brain. And that's a good thing. It gives us time to think ahead about our responses.
It also keeps us from the 4 Communication Danger Signs as explained in PREPINC curricala:
None of these patterns end well. On the contrary, they hurt and damage, driving people apart from each other rather than drawing them together. If you catch yourself in one or more, breathe deeply and pause.
From all of us at Encompass Connection Center . . . We wish you and your family healthy and safe holidays together. We're here if you need to talk after the holidays are over! January tends to be a busy month for us with many reaching out toward healthier ways of relating. We're glad to help start the new year on the right foot.
But for now, remember to breathe deeply and hit "pause".
Lavern & Ronda Nissley are co-directors of Encompass. Married since 1978, both enjoy coffee, riding their tandem bicycle and working together to build strong relationships.