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    4 Tips to Avoid a Thanksgiving Blowup

    We all know that tensions are high, resent and anger, deep.  Emotions across all spectrums are running akin to “unbridled children,” as Shakespeare said, and we may not realize is how low our empathy actually is.   The combination could set you up for a perfect storm over the Thanksgiving table on Thursday, especially if you suspect, or know, a loved one differs in political views, or (hold your breath) voted for someone you do not support.

    I have been asked repeatedly over the past weeks how to manage differing family political views, how to muster the strength (or tranquility) to go home for Thanksgiving, and above all, how to sit at the holiday table this year and not lose it.

    Here are my four #RETOX tips for avoiding a Holiday blowup and, maybe, even becoming more tranquil yourself:

    1. Learn to Listen.

    Listening is a good thing.  In fact, it is everything.  This campaign and election have somehow let us forget that.  Listening does not mean hearing listening means no interrupting, no making a list of reasons you disagree with who is talking, no planning your retort or next comment, no taking over the conversation.  Instead, actually listen to whatever is being said, and in doing so give your brain a moment to step out of fight or flight mode and dare I say, respect someone you love’s opinion, which like it or not, is as valid as your own.

    2. Take a Deep Breath.

    That said, listening can be challenging, especially these days.  If you find yourself itching to talk back, interrupt, or speak up while someone else is talking, straight up stop yourself, close your mouth, and take a big inhale through your nose.  Pause.  Exhale.  Repeat.  Inhale, exhale, repeat. Inhale, exhale, repeat. You may need to hide in the bathroom to do this.. Just go to Meditate.NYC in your browser if you do and download a free 1 Minute RETOX breathe and meditation exercise to get you back on track.

    3. Go For a Walk.

    Movement encourages endorphins and serotonin – i.e. the natural happy drugs.  Make a point to move and think about it as a natural shot of tequila.  Go for a walk before or after the meal, shoot some hoops, toss a football around… whatever it is that gets you moving.  Perhaps you step outside to move alone, but maybe, just maybe, you will see that person you were itching to argue with come toss the ball around with you.  Worst case you start punching something…

    4. Make Space for Healing.

    Whether you realize it or not, your body innately does not want to fight or be angry.  Yet, uncertainty leads to a feeling of being threatened, which encourages defensiveness, which in turn spurns aggressivity and anger.  This trajectory can lead you to feel immobilized, angry, defensive, fragile, and even sad and can cause that blowup you so want to avoid.  The thing is, your body and mind want to be healed, as do those of your family members’.  Let both of you heal by letting each other be heard.  Listen. Breathe. Move.  And from there create the space to heal together… or at least the impetus go take that shot hidden in the kitchen and heal from there.    

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    Are Trump's Nasty Comments My Fault?

    If you read one thing today - please read this.  

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