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With some questionable health advice being posted by your friends on Facebook, politicians arguing about the state of the American healthcare system and a new medical study being summarized in just a sentence or two on TV---that seems to contradict the study you heard summarized yesterday---it can be overwhelming to navigate the ever-changing landscape of health news.

To Your Health: Avoiding Holiday Conflict

flickr Gene Hahn (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/2.0/)

When we first think of holiday conflict, we may picture Black Friday shoppers duking it out over big screen TVs; however, the holidays can be fraught with many potential conflicts with family.

In the interest of your mental and social well being, here are some suggestions for avoiding the big three conflicts: money, politics, and personal life.

Alexandrea Solomon, a clinical psychologist, advises couples to pay attention to what bubbles up inside them when talking about holidays, gifts, and spending. Deepening your understanding of the beliefs and expectations you have regarding earning, saving, and spending will help you engage in a productive conversation rather than blaming one for being a cheapskate or the other for being extravagant.

Therapists Phillip Lee and Diane Rudolph suggest keeping people with opposite political views from being seated next to each other at holiday meals, but acknowledge that it isn’t realistic to expect them to never speak to each other. They encourage people to take a proactive leadership role and before the event, talk to the parties most likely to argue. Remind them a holiday is not the day to stump for candidates. It’s a time for connecting and sharing food and love.

Jacqueline Whitmore, an etiquette expert, has found the easiest way to diffuse an awkward personal question, is to answer it with another question: “Why do you ask?”

Whitmore also encourages people to remember that some people ask personal questions very innocently. Don’t lash out at a person for asking about something that may not be mean spirited.

Sifferlin, A. (2013). Holiday Survival Guide: How to Handle Your Family’s Most Annoying (and Awkward) Questions. Time.Com.

Dr. Brooke Hildebrand Clubbs is an assistant professor in the Department of Leadership, Middle & Secondary Education. She writes for special publications of The Southeast Missourian and is a certified Community Health Worker.
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