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Stressful festive celebrations that lead to anger issues

By Zaninka Umutesi
On 22 December 2022 at 11:43

Anger is often viewed as a natural response to feeling threatened or frustrated, it gets us to stand up for ourselves, or defend our loved ones.

Nonetheless, anger can also be an excuse we use for lashing out at the people we care about the most, unconsciously putting a strain on or destroying our relationships.

Anger can be triggered by various things. It might be work-related or an argument with a friend, or even a result of pent-up emotions that need to get out.

All it takes is a stressful day to trigger us, and the holidays can be especially difficult, with all the added stress of gift-buying, party planning, and family gatherings.

Particularly for parents with children at home, who are looking forward to Christmas celebrations.

Anger can become appealing to a stressed parent, making it their coping mechanism, so the children are too scared to complain or ask for anything.

Pay attention to these warning signs to know if you are one of the many people who struggle with anger during the holidays:

If you are quick to snap at family and friends, a trait that is caused by a lot of things but excused by a few, then there is a chance that you might be dealing with anger issues and typically people do not want to be that kind of attitude especially during the holiday.

1. Feeling overwhelmed and stressed by all the preparations that need to be done

If you are always the one that throws and decorates the parties or a perfectionist, a slight change or failure might trigger you.

2. Lack of excitement about Christmas or New Year’s celebrations like before

The loss of someone close and dear to you can cause a lot of sadness which can be masked by anger.

Disappointment in self can be a reason to dislike the holidays, as they might remind you of the things you did not accomplish that you had planned.

Even with all this stacked against you, there are helpful techniques for managing anger, such as deep breathing exercises, visualization, and positive self-talk.

Having anger issues during the Christmas and New Year holidays can be tough to handle, but with a few steps, you can start making a difference.

There’s the extra anxiety leading to random outbursts from spending more time with family and being in close approximation.

This is for a person who does not get along with their family and can be a trigger, especially when that particular relative comes along.

Or being part of a family whose family tradition involves yelling, fighting, and you having to most likely be the peacekeeper or referee in arguments.

And if you do not normally live or spend a lot of time with your family, going back home to spend the holidays with them can be a trigger.

Then there are all the triggers: from the decorations and music to the endless socializing which for introverts is not their ideal situation.

But even with all this, you don’t have to let your anger get the best of you. Consider these coping strategies and hope for a change:

- Take a break when you need it, if things get too tense, take some time for yourself to relax before bursting out in anger.

This is not an easy task, it requires you to consciously pay attention to different situations, people, and most of all, yourself, so you know when you need a time out before saying or doing something.

- Talk to someone about how you’re feeling, expressing yourself can help you deal with your emotions more healthily.

I know for a fact that when I am at a family function where I am not comfortable, I rely on my sister, to vent about what is bothering me and vice versa, and this reduces the risk of us jumping at that annoying person.

- Focus on the light in them even if there are things that bother you, zoom in on something to appreciate about them.

Much like how some were quick to start booing Ronaldo over his loss at the World Cup, some chose to remember him for his best matches.

It is in that same sense that we should look, really deeply at the people or situations we are in and try to think of their positive influence. This can be either from the past or how you think they will transform you in the future.

- Set boundaries with family members or traditions triggering your anger, let them be aware of the boundaries and the reason behind them, and if possible find a compromise that works for both of you.

Before we start cutting people out of our lives for our peace of mind, let us give them a chance to change.

Anger is often viewed as a natural response to feeling threatened or frustrated.

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