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Spectrum Health Navigate Tough Conversations

Fighting Seasonal Depression: How to Navigate Tough Conversations

Getting to sit around a table with a large group of friends and family during the holiday season is your favorite part, right?

If your answer was no, that’s okay! You should also know that you are not alone.

Whether it’s because of drastically different political views, or opinions on the way you choose to spend your time; many of us have learned to dread the holiday season.

But what if we told you that this season could be one filled with joy and peace?

We believe that with the right tools and help you can overcome anything; including tough family dynamics. With that being said, here are five tips to help you keep your holiday hat on this year.

Remember what the issue is. (and that’s all it is- an issue!)

It can be easy to let feelings get in the way and associate someone’s identity as what they believe in. But that’s not true! Their identity is Aunt and Uncle, brother or sister, friend. When you’re faced with a tough conflict remember what the issue is- a misunderstanding that two opposing parties get to work on TOGETHER.

Forget about the issue.

Yes, we know we’re sounding contradictory! But research such as the “Forgiveness Study” done by the University of Wisconsin is showing us that people who develop an ability to forgive have greater control over their emotions; are significantly less angry, upset, and hurt; and are healthier overall! And when you’re able to remove the person from the issue like in step number one, it’s much easier to forgive and see them for who they are!

Be Curious.

No two minds are the same! If you find yourself at odds (or even in agreement) with another person; ask questions! When we listen to understand we find out more about how someone was able to get to their conclusion. It makes it easy to see them with eyes of compassion! Who knows, you might even learn something new.

It can be easy to label someone as your enemy when you don’t agree with them, and those that you do agree with as your best friends. This holiday season we want to encourage you to go into your gatherings with the mindset that different perspectives exist, and that’s okay!

It’s what makes the world such a diverse place, and helps us to grow.

We can’t take responsibility for how someone else thinks or behaves, but we can take responsibility for how we respond! And when you’re able to reach out to those you don’t agree with in kindness, you might find that you have more in common than you once thought!

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