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Psychologists reveal their guide to getting through Thanksgiving WITHOUT family drama 

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For some, Thanksgiving is a time of turkey stuffing, laughs and holiday cheer. 

But for others it serves as a source of serious stress and family drama around the dinner table. 

Luckily, several psychologists and experts have revealed the best ways to survive Thanksgiving day for those who want to avoid the added headaches that come with arguments with your family. 

Whether you have a strained relationship with your relatives – or the political climate is making this year’s Thanksgiving especially difficult – these experts have a host of tips and tricks to make your holiday season as smooth as possible. 

From mentally preparing before you enter the room to steering away from hot topics, psychologists have taken to social media to help ease your mind as turkey day approaches. 

For some, Thanksgiving is a time of turkey stuffing and holiday cheer, but for others it's a prime source of stress and family drama around the dinner table

For some, Thanksgiving is a time of turkey stuffing and holiday cheer, but for others it’s a prime source of stress and family drama around the dinner table

Luckily, psychologists have revealed the best ways to survive Thanksgiving day and avoid the added headaches that come from arguments with your family

Luckily, psychologists have revealed the best ways to survive Thanksgiving day and avoid the added headaches that come from arguments with your family

From mentally preparing before you enter the room to steering away from hot topics, phycologists have taken to social media to help ease your mind

From mentally preparing before you enter the room to steering away from hot topics, phycologists have taken to social media to help ease your mind

Board Certified Psychiatrist Dr. Mena Mirhom, from New York took to TikTok to share three tips that may just help you get through turkey day without anyone interrogating you as to ‘why you aren’t married yet’. 

His first tip is to ‘mentally prepare beforehand.’ 

‘Number one, prepare beforehand just mentally, who is going to be there, what’s it going to be like, what’s the vibe.’ 

Mentally preparing before hand also means being able to identify you’re triggers before you even reach for a plate. 

Before the holiday, take a few moments to nail down what exactly may set you off or cause family drama. 

Spread holiday cheer with these tips that’ll help you survive Thanksgiving 

  • Mentally prepare and think abut who is going to be there
  • Identify your triggers beforehand 
  • Think about conversation topics that can help you steer away from hot button topics
  • Allow yourself to take breaks and step away from your family if necessary 
  • Focus on getting rest in the days leading up to Thanksgiving 
  • Eat as little or as much as you want day of 
  • Stick by your favorite relative’s side

Whether your temper is at an all time high when your aunt asks if you’re still single or when the conversation turns political, identifying your triggers before stepping into what potentially could be a crazy family dinner can help you prepare for how you’ll handle them.

‘Number two, set boundaries and limits. Not everybody has to hear about everything, it’s okay if someone brings up a topic you don’t want to talk about, just say, “I’m just not that comfortable talking about that, maybe we could talk about football”.’ 

Dr. Mirhom’s second tip gave a nod to clinical psychologist Dr. Jennifer Gutman who also shared a few tips on avoiding topics on Thanksgiving. 

She explained that family members often bring any topic into the conversation because they think that ‘because it’s family’ you can discuss anything, even ‘taboo topics.’ 

‘It’s important to remember to stay away from topics at Thanksgiving the same way we would stay away topics at any other time and any other social situations.’ 

Dr. Gutman added that by reaching out to family members before the holiday you can help set boundaries for yourself. 

‘I think it’s important to reach out to family members, I recommend before even the holiday, but you could do it before the holiday or beginning of the meal and talk about what topics there should be a moratorium around. 

‘And those should probably be all topics that are political, or hot button social topics, hot button world issue topics should be off the table. 

‘People can just talk about things that are going to be received in green light areas. 

‘Topics around people’s work or things that are gonna be light hearted and breezy, things to keep the meal moving in light-hearted. funny, breezy way, so that everybody can enjoy it together and leave the meal feeling like they had a good time,’ she explained. 

Therapist TJ Hoegh advised users to 'eat as little or as much as you want' on Thanksgiving

He added: 'If you need to leave or take a break, it' s okay'

Therapist TJ Hoegh advised users to ‘eat as little or as much as you want’ on Thanksgiving, and added: ‘If you need to leave or take a break, it’ s okay’

Dr. Mena Mirhom explained that users should make sure to set boundaries and take breaks

Dr. Mena Mirhom explained that users should make sure to set boundaries and take breaks

Dr. Mena Mirhom explained that users should make sure to set boundaries and allow themselves to take breaks

Therapist Hoegh added that users should avoid engaging in conflict and chill with their favorite relative

Therapist Hoegh added that users should avoid engaging in conflict and chill with their favorite relative

Therapist Hoegh added that users should avoid engaging in conflict and chill with their favorite relative

A great way to steer the conversation in your favor is to change topics. 

If you struggle coming up with topics you’re comfortable with on the spot, come prepared with a handful of neutral conversation starters in your back pocket just in case tensions begin to creep up. 

Whether you’re discussing your favorite holiday movies or fond old memories, steering the conversation can be a great way to avoid those hot button issues. 

Another no-fail solution to avoiding the dreaded ‘when are you getting married’, is to turn the conversation around and just ask them about themselves, prompting them to forget what they were asking you. 

And Dr. Mirhom’s third and final tip is to ‘take a break.’ 

He explained: ‘if it’s been going on for a while, it’s okay to take a break. It’s okay to give yourself the opportunity to take a step back.’ 

If you’re just visiting your family for the holidays and don’t see them often, it’s easy to feel guilty for not spending every waking second with them, however, there’s nothing wrong with taking a step back, even just for a moment. 

Whether it’s stepping into your room or going for a walk, taking time away from your family is sometimes the best thing you can do because it will help you re-ground yourself. 

Another therapist,  TJ Hoegh, echoed Dr. Mirhom and Dr. Gutman’s advice in six short tips. 

He advised: ‘You don’t have to answer every question, if you need to take a break or leave, it’s okay,  don’t engage in conflict in conflict and focus on getting rest, eat as little or as much as you want, find you favorite relative and chill and remember it’s only one day.’ 

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