Sunday, November 24, 2019

My Best Tip to Avoid Holiday Stress and Promote Harmony

"No" symbol (circle with a diagonal line) over word "Stress"
It’s holiday time. A time when family and friends gather to tell the same jokes and stories to the same people who heard them last year and years before. Along with those stories and jokes, the holidays can often bring a special kind of stress.

As CEO of Stress Solutions, LLC for 11 years, I’ve been dedicated to helping people avoid stress and - if stress can’t be avoided - to release stress for a sense of calm and peace in mind and body. 

My One Best Tip for Holiday Harmony

With the holidays ahead, I would like to share what I believe to be the one best holiday stress avoidance tip given the current political climate. That tip is:

When getting together with family and friends, avoid conversations about national politics. 

Why? Let us count the ways:

  • No matter how passionate, persuasive, or logical you are in stating why your beliefs are “the truth”, you will not convince anyone who holds contrary beliefs to change those beliefs.
  • The current state of political discord makes reasoned civil discussion virtually impossible between too many people who hold strong opinions about our current President or those vying for the Democratic party nomination.
  • It’s highly probable if conversations gets heated, honest differences and reasoned discussion will be abandoned and replaced by ad hominem attacks on your intelligence, your character, your beliefs, or all of the above. Depending on who you say positive things about, you risk being labeled a socialist, a communist, a racist, anti-LGBT, etc., etc., etc.
  • These kinds of conversations introduce an energy of conflict and ill-will into what should be a fun, enjoyable gathering.
  • Fractured relationships from such strident discussions can be hard or sometimes impossible to mend.

How to Handle Political Discussion

If you attend family, work, or other social events over the holidays it’s pretty much guaranteed someone will ask you, 

“So, what do you think about the situation with Trump?” or something similar. 

From a conflict avoidance (and thus a stress avoidance) perspective, I suggest offering a reply along the lines of:

“Things in Washington are a mess, that’s for sure. I guess we’ll need to wait and see how it all works out.”


“You know I’m so tired of the political noise in Washington, I simply tune out.”

How about?...

“It’s a mess. Hey, have you been following the (insert team name here, weather event, etc.)? 

If your conversation mate insists on pursuing a political discussion, you can choose to listen politely. A response of, “interesting” or something similar will work well followed by something like, “Hey, I’m going to get a snack. We’ll talk more later”.

Avoid Temptation

Avoid Temptation - You’ll Thank Yourself for Doing So

As tempting as it may be to engage in political discussion, if you want to keep your stress level low and conversations cordial, resist the temptation. Remember, there’s nothing you can say to make other people change their minds. Let go of any need to, “set the record straight” and tell others what’s really going on.

As you leave the gathering and on your way home, you’ll thank yourself for being smart. 

The holidays can be stressful enough without adding heated political conversation to the holiday punch. Be kind to yourself and avoid the drama. 

Listen to Companion Podcast Episode

Listen to the companion "Mind Over Stress" podcast episode  for this post by clicking the player below.

Stephen Carter

Stress Solutions, LLC | | Podcast: