Holiday Tip #3: Accept and Maximize How You Cope

Tip #3 for dealing with the stress of marriage trouble during the holidays is to accept and maximize how you cope.

There are different ways of coping with the encountered pain and fear of life. Allow me to offer 3 general and different ways people cope with emotional trauma.

1. Some withdraw and avoid. They do not want to face the feelings and thoughts. They do not want to face others. And so, they retreat and withdraw. They find a cave and crawl into it.

2. Some work hard at socializing and gathering people around them. They want the interaction and input from others. The interaction and tendency to focus on the other provides an escape from the inner pain and fear.

3. Others throw themselves into challenges and activates (work, play, exercise, etc.) They burn up the adrenaline and feel as if they are accomplishing something at the same time.

We learn and adopt these patterns very early in life. And in some situations a pattern seems to work and serve us well. Knowing your pattern helps you establish a strategy during the Holiday Season.

If you tend to withdraw, find yourself a stack of self-help books and begin reading. Use the internet to do research on marital conflict. Take time to meditate, think and write. Go inside yourself (you know how to do this very well) to find the answers. (Yes, they are there!) Explore your inner world and listen to your wisdom.

If you enjoy socializing, contact close friends, share your needs and negotiate with them to be there for you through the Holiday Season. Let them know what you need. Talk. Talk. Talk. And in the talking you will discover the answers and your pain will be mitigated. Don’t be afraid to lean on others, but let them know what you are looking for. Find a good therapist or coach to be a helpful sounding board and confidence booster. Self help groups might be a source of comfort and strength.

If you are a doer, engage in an intentional problem solving modality. Define your problem, throw out the solutions, choose a solution and DO it. Then go back and evaluate how well it worked. List 2-3 activities that will help lessen your pain and wandering thoughts. Choose something that is particularly challenging since you most likely value challenge. Keep your blood stirred.

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