Everyone knows that over the holiday season there is an abundance of love and happiness when family gets together. With all the good feelings, love, and “positive” emotions that are involved with a family gathering over the holidays, there are also the “negative” emotions. Key among the “negative” emotions is anger, and anger leads to conflict. There are many ways to avoid conflict over the holidays but in this article you will find five.

Preventing conflict requires a lot of concentration. The first, and probably the most fun, way to prevent conflict is by relaxing. For college students, we often enjoy relieving stress by concentrating on other things. Whenever you feel yourself becoming angry and are on the verge of conflict, try walking away and turning on the Xbox or Playstation. Playing a simple video game can alleviate a situation or conflict into an even better situation. By concentrating on playing a video game and thinking about nothing else, you calm down and start thinking with reason more than anger. It is a well known fact that we, as human beings, often say things that we regret when angry and in the middle of a conflict. To prevent saying something mean and hateful to a family member during the holidays, you should stop, walk away and go play a game.

Secondly, to prevent conflict over the holidays try exercising. Exercising has been proven time and time again to be a great stress reliever. There can not be an argument that a person does not feel stressed when they are angry. Between the over protective mom and worrisome cousins that will be flooding your house or privacy over the holiday, there is no way you will not have some stress or anxiety. Why not avoid it all together? Whenever you feel stressed or at your breaking point, go for a jog or to the gym. According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, “Exercising and other physical activity produces endorphins – chemicals in the brain that act as natural painkillers – and also improves the ability to sleep, which in turn reduces stress.” Exercising is a way to pursue a healthier you, avoid stress, and prevent conflict.

Some people say that humor is a great way to avoid conflict over the break. Laughing is often a great to alleviate a very tense situation. The American Psychological Association agrees that humor is a great way to make a tense situation better. According to an article on the American Psychological Association webpage “Humor can always help you find yourself being unreasonable.” Laughing will always make everyone feel better than poor old “Mr. Grinch.” Take a moment in the heat of battle to breathe and let loose a good old fashion joke or laugh-it will definitely help to make the holidays better whenever you feel a train of problems headed your way.

Fourth on the list of ways to prevent conflict is good old fashion breathing and counting. Even though people have heard this method of letting of anger and other things helpful some find it dumb and stupid. However, unlike a common misconception breathing and counting to ten sometimes does work. Taking deep breaths at each number helps you calm down along the way. Starting with the number one and counting to ten gives you ten seconds to think about the situation and how to defuse it. You may start with one but by the time you get to five you will not feel the same way. Instead of counting by seconds, try counting by minutes or even groups of thirty seconds. Give yourself some time to think about what mom and dad are nagging about and let it go.

Fifth and final on this list of five ways to prevent conflict over the holidays is everyone’s favorite. Isolate yourself from others. We, as human beings, are full of countless emotions. When you feel those emotions coming to a point of no return, remove yourself from other people. It is better to be alone in your room than to knock out that old high school friend that’s home from college just like you. Taking a little time to get yourself together is a great way to prevent conflict.

Keeping a calm head over the Thanksgiving and Christmas break is not an easy thing to do. Parents often try to treat you like a kid again when you’re not the same as you were when you left their home this past August. Old friends often become jealous of new friends and become antagonists. Always remember that its best to keep calm and avoid conflict.

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