In my last two blogs (click here if you haven’t already read them) I discussed some of the reasons why tensions may run high and the signs that they are on the rise. 

In this blog I will discuss the ways in which you can avoid tensions rising further. I would at this point also like to mention that I discuss general tensions, raised frustrations and anger at a low level here. If you are experiencing any kind of physical, mental, sexual, financial or other type of abuse, I have included contact numbers below, please reach out for help if it is safe to do so. 

Now, this is a tricky one, avoidance isn’t something I would usually recommend because if it is you that is feeling tense, avoiding those feelings can actually make them worse. So, I am going to split this blog into two halves, one will be dedicated to you, and the other will discuss ways to avoid tension rising in others.

So, let’s start with you!

  1. Avoiding feelings is generally not a good solution. When we push our feelings down or what we think of as away, what we are actually doing is ignoring the cause of those feelings. What happens later down the line is those feelings come back with more intensity or in the form of frustration, anger and/or resentment.
  1. Don’t label your feelings, experience them. Through our lives we are taught that some feelings are good and some are bad but in actual fact what feelings really are, is feedback. Feelings tell us something about ourselves, and they are ours… they come from inside us which means no one has put them there, they are just there to give us feedback about any given situation. So, think of feelings as feedback and then ask yourself what you think is causing that feedback. 
  1. When you experience feelings that you are not comfortable with, take ownership. They are your feelings, your reaction to a person or situation. We often blame others for our feelings, “he made me feel angry” or “she upset me”. When you take ownership of your feelings, you can start to make choices about the way external forces affect you… powerful stuff!!
  1. What can you do? Things to try in order to navigate the feelings you are experiencing rather than creating more tension are meditation, remove yourself from the immediate situation, write your feelings down, practice gratitude (look out for my ‘Self-Awareness Journal’ which includes gratitude practice with a twist!), make a plan and stick to it, exercise, watch a funny video. These are just suggestions, but the key is to find the thing that works for you personally. 

If you notice tension in others…

  1. Stop taking it personally. If someone in your family or friendship group is tense or stressed they might be projecting their feelings onto you through anger or other undesirable behaviour. This is not personal, this is just their way of copying with the feelings they are experiencing. Avoid confrontation and do your best to stay calm where possible.
  1. Give them some space. Sometimes people need time and space to process their feelings and this can give them the opportunity to work through how they are feeling. If they don’t want to talk about it, that is fine, it is their choice whether they share or not and if talking works for you, it doesn’t necessarily mean it will work for everyone. 
  1. Offer to help. When friends and family are hostile because tensions are running high our response is sometimes “why should I help them, they have been nothing but mean to me”. As mentioned above, if we take a step back, stop thinking about their behaviour as a personal attack on us and think of it more as a cry for help from them we may start to understand the kind of help they need and be able to offer it. Ask yourself, what could I do to help them feel less stressed, sometimes, the answer is as simple as giving them some space. 
  1. Do you know the full story? Christmas is a highly emotive time of year for a lot of reasons, for a lot of people. Do you know what it is about this time of year that creates the tension, feelings of pressure, anger or upset? We don’t always know the full story and so it is important to recognise that everyone has their own ‘stuff’ to deal with. 

Next week I will be talking about defusing tension.

If this has resonated with you and you would like to know more about how I can help you overcome the stresses and tensions Christmas brings book a free session here

In the meantime keep in touch!

You can do that here:-   


Men’s Advice Line: 0808 801 0327 (Mon-Fri 10am-1pm and 2pm to 5pm) 

SAMARITANS: 116 123 (freephone 24 HRS)

Victim Support: 0808 168 9111

National Centre for Domestic Violence (NCDV): 0800 970 2070 OR Text “NCDV” to 60777 and they’ll call you back

National Domestic Violence helpline: 0808 200 0247 (24hours)

Refuge: 0808 200 0247 (24hours)

Women’s Aid: 0808 200 0247 (24 hours)

National Stalking Helpline: 0808 802 0300 (Mon-Fri 9.30am to 4pm

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