Dr Trudi Edginton, a Clinical Psychologist and Senior Lecturer in Psychology in the Faculty of Science and Technology wrote an article for the Huffington Post on how to avoid political arguments with family over the festive period.

"Family tension at some point over the Christmas period is a natural consequence of bringing family members of all ages together" says Dr Edginton, and with the 2016 vote to leave the EU causing generational, geographical and cultural splits between friends, family and communities, the prospect of having to manage the fallout of a Brexit debate over Christmas dinner can be unnerving. 

"The expression of intense emotions may feel unmanageable, especially at Christmas" says Dr Edginton, but "as a Clinical Psychologist I encourage the use of a mindful approach." 

"Recognising and understanding our feelings and emotional triggers is key to regulating the impact of our emotions" says Dr Edginton who recommends authentic listening techniques, asking pertinent questions and listening to the answers in full, resisting the urge to respond straight away. 

"Responding to anger with anger can increase the volatile nature of the discussion and creates a more rigid position. In contrast, demonstrating a genuine interest can be a useful calming technique and can foster deeper understanding and compassion for opposing political and personal beliefs that are based on that person’s past experiences and personal values.

"This Christmas it will be incredibly important to search for the common ground and the elements of humanity that connect and define us to prevent family rifts from developing. Irrespective of our standpoints the majority of us can agree on our key values and principles of caring for others."

"Ultimately" concludes Dr Edginton, "difficult conversations can provide us with a unique opportunity to learn, understand and reflect on our own experiences, perceptions, fears, beliefs and values."

Read the full article on The Huffington Post.

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