Atlas Family Chiropractic: Alternative Solutions For Back-pain Sufferers

Non-invasive and drug-free relief is now available to people who suffer from neck and lower-back pain. For decades, people afflicted with cervical and spinal pain associated with chronic and often degenerative diseases only had three options for pain relief: chiropractic, invasive surgery, or drug treatment. This is no longer the case. Spinal decompression therapy is a new and viable alternative.

This therapeutic, cutting-edge technology addresses the chronic and often debilitating pain associated with herniated and bulging discs, facet syndrome, degenerative joint disease, pinched nerves and other spinal afflictions.

NC Chiropractor Leads the Way in Spinal Decompression

Dr. David Nygaard DC, MS, MBA, an Asheville, NC chiropractor and Board Certified Atlas Orthogonist, who operates Atlas Family Chiropractic, is a leading expert in spinal decompression therapy. Spinal decompression addresses complicated clinical syndromes and spinal disorders that impair physical performance and lifes daily activities.

According to a September 4, 2006 article in Fortune Magazine, “More than 70 percent of adults will have back pain in their lives; it’s the second most common cause of doctor visits in the U.S.”

So, it’s important to initially treat chronic pain with the most conservative approach available, namely, chiropractic. Chiropractics goal is to properly diagnose the problem, treat the cause, and to provide lasting-pain relief with minimal patient risk; surgery should be the last resort. Spinal decompression is a cost-effective alternative to expensive surgery.

In 1987, a Canadian doctor, Dr. Allan Dyer, who pioneered the development of the external cardiac defibrillator, invented a table to replace and improve the lives of lower-disc back pain sufferers. His spinal decompression table (the Vax-D table) was not available for use by chiropractors until 1996 when the FDA gave it the green light. Since then, this technology has improved and now offers neck-problem solutions as well.

ATX 2 Treats Array of Disorders

Leg pain, lower back and neck pain, scoliosis, spinal facet syndrome, and spinal stenosis can all be treated with the use of Dr. Nygaard’s Auto Trax 2 Spinal Decompression table.

After much research, he found this to be a superior product with features not found on other decompression tables.

“It’s imperative that the compromised disc segment is isolated during the treatment,” Dr. Nygaard explains. “And, this spinal decompression technology has been a blessing to my patients and practice. Of course, there are times when chiropractic techniques are not enough to prevent surgery, but it’s very rewarding to routinely restore the compromised health and function associated with severe-disc pathology.”

The ATX 2 is a state-of-the-art microprocessor-controlled decompression table that offers superior patient placement for optimal decompression results. Spinal traction disperses the energy of weighting between the various spinal segments; and decompression isolates a specific lumbar or cervical-disc segment through appropriate setup angle and pull. Simple spinal traction does not create negative intradiscal pressure.

“Dr. Nygaard helped where others failed. His gentle approach and knowledgeable use of modern modalities alleviated my chronic neck and low-back pain,” one satisfied patient explains.

Ramp It Up

The ATX 2 offers a feature that no other chiropractic tables do — R.A.M.P. (reflex-auto-monitoring-program.) This feature aids Dr. Nygaard with checks and balances to ensure the best patient treatment possible.

The length of time and the amount of pressure the ATX 2 administers to patients is adjusted accordingly.

Spinal Decompression Study Yields Positive Results

The most comprehensive spinal decompression study, to date, was performed by Gose EE Naguszewski. Published in Neurological Research Volume 20, it compiled outcome data of 778 patients from 22 medical centers.
All patients had pain, on average, for 40 months. 31 of these patients had previous low-back surgery. The treatment consisted of 10-20 treatment sessions. Six patients were excluded from the study because they improved before 10 treatments.

The final results proved that 92 percent of patients showed improvement. Of those, five percent improved 20-50 percent; 17 percent improved 50-75 percent; and 70 improved 75-100 percent.

Atlas Family Chiropractic Promotes Drug-Free Alternatives

“Noninvasive treatments and drug-free alternatives are available to people suffering from these types of conditions,” Dr. Nygaard offers.

Optimal health is possible for anyone. The motto at Atlas Family Chiropractic is: “Drug-free health solutions.”

Family Health Insurance – To Buy Or Not To Buy

There are many pressures on the purse of the modern family yet family health insurance it is of paramount importance. In the current health care environment family protection, in the form of family health insurance cannot be mitigated.

Just consider the cost of emergency treatment, medical intervention and the cost of health care professionals and you will fairly soon understand its necessity. Nobody envisages life’s storms, they can arrive unannounced as well as unwanted, but when they do come you can be sure that day in hefty bill will soon following close in its wake.

The unexpected can easily run a family to the verge of the financial ruin. It is plainly a simple matter to run up a bill of thousands of dollars in a few short days. How many of us would be able to budget for such an unexpected rain cloud.

When it you consider family health care insurance remember that there are as many policies to choose from, as there are family health insurance companies. The skill in choosing the best policy is to weigh up all of these alternatives and see which one of matches your requirements best.

One of the first things to look out for, before the final choice is decided upon, is the cost of the monthly premiums. Obviously this is to form a major consideration and must be weighed up very carefully against the benefits of the family health care insurance policy. Quite simply you must be able to afford the policy that you plan to initiate.
Another vital consideration is the amount of the deductible. A deductible is the fraction of a claim to be paid by the insured previous to the insurer making any payment. There are plans available that have both individual and family greatest deductibles. Characteristically, this deductible amount is $100, $250 or $500; it really depends on the plan and each one is seen as individual. Some plans, have of late, brought our $1000 deductibles.
As an example of, consider a plan with a $100 deductible; you would be accountable for the first $100 in health care charges for the year. After that, the coverage would be split according to your plan formula that may cover a percentage of the fee charged, or limit your expenditure to a precise out of pocket cost.
With some policies, family health insurance can include a deductible for each person, but may waive the deductible on the remaining members of the family once the deductible has been met on at least two family members. The same may be true for out of pocket expenses, when one or two people have satisfied the cap on these expenses, the rest of the enrolled members of the family no longer have to worry about any out of pocket costs.

Be Wise and Plan For Future Requirements

It is a fact of life that you should never take matters as set in stone as all too often the unexpected can be expected. The only thing that never changes is the fact that things do change!

Alvin Toffler, a well-known futurist, predicts that the only thing that we can be certain about is that things will not stay the same. The unexpected does not have to mean unwelcome. Few families plan the arrival of a new bundle of joy. Yet if a baby turns up, even unannounced, you should be able to automatically add the new baby to the family health insurance policy.

Not all policies are so generous however and the cover may be just for the term of the pregnancy. After the birth new cover may not be available until after a certain set period. I would not recommend this sort of policy if you were considering a family.

Moreover, with some providers their policy would have to be operating for a certain period, say from one up to two years or even more, before specific coverage, such as pregnancy, is available. Naturally, this is to prevent individuals from purchasing family health insurance immediately after they discover they are expectant.

A Health Magazine Offers Useful Information About Family Health Care

In today’s world, almost everyone is aware of the need to monitor health issues for the continued good health of their families and selves. We know that we have to watch our fat intake, calories, cholesterol, sugars and a host of other diet no-no’s. With convenience foods and fast food outlets, most of us are hard pressed to keep on the cutting edge of what we should or should not ingest! If you factor in the latest findings and research, keeping on top of it all can be a nightmare. This is where the health magazine can be a godsend. There are a number of health magazines out there to keep you up to date. Some emphasize a natural approach to good health, with features on herbs, supplements and various alternative disciplines to keep you and your family fit and vigorous. Another type of health magazine may focus on cooking low fat versions of your favorite dishes, keeping you abreast of the latest recipes that replicate the delicious fatty version with an equally delicious but healthier result. A good health magazine can make a terrific one stop resource for health information that doesn’t read like an encyclopedia, enabling you to be a savvy and knowledgeable consumer and guardian of your family’s health. A publisher of a successful health magazine tries to give you the most up to date information in an easily read format and style suitable to the layman. A health magazine, like any other magazine, is geared to the season, letting you make the best and healthiest use of your strawberry crop in delicious recipes, while informing you of the particular health benefits of strawberries. Come Christmas, you’ll likely see features on holiday foods which can be prepared in a healthier way than the traditional calorie laden recipe without sacrificing taste. Summertime issues of the health magazine may offer inviting recipes for cooling summer drinks “seasoned” with herbs to benefit both your health and taste buds. The latest research on a supplement may enlighten you on how you might help a family member with diabetes, heart trouble, arthritis and a host of other common conditions. It’s worth your while to explore the many magazines available at the supermarket, newsstand or by subscription. The health magazine can be a veritable treasure trove of information that will help you and your family members stay healthy and be an enjoyable read to boot.

Affordable Family Health Insurance – Take Care Of Your Family

Having a health insurance policy is important for everyone, but it is especially important if you have the health of family members to think about as well as your own. It is one thing to put off thinking about purchasing a health insurance plan for yourself; it is quite another to put of thinking about purchasing a health insurance plan for your children. Health care can be expensive, so when you are looking for a health insurance plan for your family, you are going to want to look for plans that are both affordable, and offer the health coverage you need. For example, if you or your child has a pre-existing health condition, it may be a bit more difficult to find a health insurance company that will offer you a health insurance plan; however, it’s not impossible. Make sure you find a health insurance plan that will cover your pre-existing condition; then, choose one that will be within your budget, as well. Many people are able to obtain affordable family health insurance through their employers. These are called group health insurance plans. Group health insurance plans are often much less expensive than individual health insurance plans, and many times you can forgo a medical examination; however, as with any health insurance plan, you want to make sure any pre-existing condition that you or your child may have will be covered under the plan. If you have to resort to purchasing an individual health insurance plan, don’t panic. As long as you search for reputable, financially solid health insurance companies that will offer only the exact coverage you need in a price range you can manage, you will be able to find an affordable family health insurance plan. Sure, an individual health insurance plan is going to be more expensive than a group health insurance plan, but if you do a thorough search, you can find one you can afford.

Individual Health Insurance Texas- Do You Know What is the Right Health Insurance Policy Available For Your Family?

Individual health insurance, it basically means the insurance which is purchased by an individual independently. The person, who purchases individual health insurance, can decide for the amount of coverage he or she wants to take. In insurance sector there are many big companies which are providing wide range of health insurance plans. So, you can buy an individual health insurance plan from any insurance company from any state. But, you should always keep one thing in mind, that each state has its own rules and regulations which decides about the selling means of the individual policies. When we talk about people living in Texas, one of the biggest things which we come to know is that they are not fully aware about health policies and they are seldom confused to choose anyone for them. They just get more confused when they talk about group health insurance and want to know that how it differs from individual health insurance Texas plans. So, the basic meaning of group health insurance is that in this type of insurance people get insured by their employers. Either the company pays the premium or if the company doesn’t pay the cost of the premium then the employees have to bear very nominal cost of the insurance offered by the company. However, this thing has been very common in every company now. But, now people are either not availing these plans from the employers or they are not taking insurance at all. Hence the bet way for them to get insured is to buy an individual health insurance Texas plan, which will give the best possible coverage with affordable rates. With so many individual health insurance Texas plans available, people get confused which one to take. So, the ideal way is to read through all the individual health plans and then select the one which fits best to you keeping in mind that it should meet your needs and requirements. Moreover, don’t select the one which is cheapest among all as it may not provide you the coverage you might be thinking for, hence select the one which should be able to provide you good coverage and it should be affordable as well. There are many agents who may be selling health insurance plans with discounts, however, it is advised to properly investigate for those healthcare plans as they may not provide you enough coverage which you might have thought about and thus select the insurance with proper authentication. Every state has different law for purchasing individual health insurance plans; hence, even individual health insurance plans in Texas are different from the plans which you might have taken from any other state. If you don’t want to pay hefty amount in buying a health insurance, then you can chose to buy an individual health insurance Texas plan as it can be the best deal for you as the monthly costs are very lower and if you don’t visit the doctor on monthly basis, then the total yearly cost will be very affordable. Published at: https://www.isnare.com/?aid=533437&ca=Finances

Health Of Men: Important Concerns Related To The Health Of Men In Your Family

When it comes to the health of men, you really can’t be too careful. Katie Couric lost her husband to colon cancer, and has been fighting to raise awareness ever since. As a result, more and more men are starting to ask their doctors about getting checked for the ailment. Because more and more frequently the cancer is getting caught in its early stages, more lives are being saved. Also, the sooner you catch cancer, the easier and less expensive the treatments seem to be. While colon cancer can cross gender lines and affect women as well as men, testicular cancer and prostate cancer are exclusive to guys. Other health of men concerns include erectile dysfunction. Such a problem has the potential to put a huge strain on a relationship, and many men choose to treat erectile dysfunction with pharmaceutical drugs. While these can be very effective and provide immediate relief from the disorder, there are other alternatives available. For example, some men choose to treat it with diet and exercise. While this may take quite a bit longer than popping a blue pill does, it provides more long term relief. Also, depending on whether or not you have health insurance, diet and exercise may be a more affordable option. Besides just men, entire families are concerned with the health of men. For example, if a man is working full time and is the primary breadwinner in a family, if he falls ill and can no longer do his job the whole family suffers. The woman of the house may have to pick up a job (or even a second job) to make ends meet. The best thing to do if you’re a man and worried about your health is to get regular check ups. Visiting your doctor regularly can help you to stay healthy much longer than if you don’t. Published at: https://www.isnare.com/?aid=180309&ca=Wellness%2C+Fitness+and+Diet

Rainsoft Water Filters Add To Your Health And Your Family’s Health

If you consider yourself health conscious, you probably watch what you eat and exercise often. You probably even drink lots of water, just like all the fitness mags tell you to. However, have you ever given any thought as to what is in your water, exactly? Have you ever thought that there may be things in your water, albeit microscopic, that could potentially damage your health and the health of your family? If not, then how can you consider yourself health conscious? The truth is, you cannot work out and eat right but drink tainted water. They cancel each other out. For this reason, you should look into getting a water filter such as the Rainsoft water filter. The Name Just Sounds Fresh And Clean Just the name Rainsoft evokes a sense of freshness and cleanness, two qualities that you want in a water filter. The Rainsoft water filter fits onto your kitchen faucet and you can run your water all day long with peace of mind in knowing that it is very fresh and very clean. It doesn’t matter if you are looking to drink the water, cook with the water, bathe with the water, or anything else, a Rainsoft water filter will surely clean that water as thoroughly as possible so that no unknown substances or critters can be ingested by you or your family. You can find Rainsoft water filters sold wherever water filters are sold. You can find them at your local home improvement store, such as Lowe’s or Home Depot, at Wal-Mart, at your local hardware store, or even on the internet. Internet Shopping Is A Great Idea Internet shopping has come a long way in recent years. Many people still don’t trust it, as they think that someone will steal their credit or debit card numbers. While this is a risk no matter if you shop online or at the store, online shopping really is better than shopping at an actual retail store if you think about it. That is because you can peruse several online sites in matter of minutes, compared to many hours with retail stores, to find the best price possible. Online, you have pictures and specs and the price and you can even have the product delivered right to your door. However you go about getting your Rainsoft water filter, however, you will feel good knowing that you are finally keeping to your healthy living image. Your family will thank you and, who knows, by installing a Rainsoft water filter on your home faucet, you could potentially save yourself many doctor bills down the road. So, essentially, the Rainsoft water filter pays for itself in the long run. Published at: https://www.isnare.com/?aid=146837&ca=Family+Concerns

A Health Magazine Offers Useful Information About Family Health Care

In today’s world, almost everyone is aware of the need to monitor health issues for the continued good health of their families and selves. We know that we have to watch our fat intake, calories, cholesterol, sugars and a host of other diet no-no’s. With convenience foods and fast food outlets, most of us are hard pressed to keep on the cutting edge of what we should or should not ingest! If you factor in the latest findings and research, keeping on top of it all can be a nightmare. This is where the health magazine can be a godsend. There are a number of health magazines out there to keep you up to date. Some emphasize a natural approach to good health, with features on herbs, supplements and various alternative disciplines to keep you and your family fit and vigorous. Another type of health magazine may focus on cooking low fat versions of your favorite dishes, keeping you abreast of the latest recipes that replicate the delicious fatty version with an equally delicious but healthier result. A good health magazine can make a terrific one stop resource for health information that doesn’t read like an encyclopedia, enabling you to be a savvy and knowledgeable consumer and guardian of your family’s health. A publisher of a successful health magazine tries to give you the most up to date information in an easily read format and style suitable to the layman. A health magazine, like any other magazine, is geared to the season, letting you make the best and healthiest use of your strawberry crop in delicious recipes, while informing you of the particular health benefits of strawberries. Come Christmas, you’ll likely see features on holiday foods which can be prepared in a healthier way than the traditional calorie laden recipe without sacrificing taste. Summertime issues of the health magazine may offer inviting recipes for cooling summer drinks “seasoned” with herbs to benefit both your health and taste buds. The latest research on a supplement may enlighten you on how you might help a family member with diabetes, heart trouble, arthritis and a host of other common conditions. It’s worth your while to explore the many magazines available at the supermarket, newsstand or by subscription. The health magazine can be a veritable treasure trove of information that will help you and your family members stay healthy and be an enjoyable read to boot. Published at: https://www.isnare.com/?aid=129257&ca=Advice

Affordable Family Health Insurance – Take Care Of Your Family

Having a health insurance policy is important for everyone, but it is especially important if you have the health of family members to think about as well as your own. It is one thing to put off thinking about purchasing a health insurance plan for yourself; it is quite another to put of thinking about purchasing a health insurance plan for your children. Health care can be expensive, so when you are looking for a health insurance plan for your family, you are going to want to look for plans that are both affordable, and offer the health coverage you need. For example, if you or your child has a pre-existing health condition, it may be a bit more difficult to find a health insurance company that will offer you a health insurance plan; however, it’s not impossible. Make sure you find a health insurance plan that will cover your pre-existing condition; then, choose one that will be within your budget, as well. Many people are able to obtain affordable family health insurance through their employers. These are called group health insurance plans. Group health insurance plans are often much less expensive than individual health insurance plans, and many times you can forgo a medical examination; however, as with any health insurance plan, you want to make sure any pre-existing condition that you or your child may have will be covered under the plan. If you have to resort to purchasing an individual health insurance plan, don’t panic. As long as you search for reputable, financially solid health insurance companies that will offer only the exact coverage you need in a price range you can manage, you will be able to find an affordable family health insurance plan. Sure, an individual health insurance plan is going to be more expensive than a group health insurance plan, but if you do a thorough search, you can find one you can afford. Published at: https://www.isnare.com/?aid=81300&ca=Finances

Sustaining Healthy Family Life: Tips For Overcoming The Holiday Stress Blues

Introduction
Few of us are immune to holiday stress. It doesn’t help that Thanksgiving and Christmas are so close together. For many people, it’s like getting a second-wham of anxiety and disappointment before you recover from the first one at Thanksgiving.

Because our American culture still promotes the image of the happy family with the white picket fence, we often assume the ideal family exists–even if we know that these families, too, have holiday difficulties. Holiday movies increase our disappointment. Oh, they might start out with family feuds, misunderstood children and unacceptable mates, but all these issues get resolved by the end of the film.

In reality, most families have a few issues that are unresolved. What may be stressful to one family may not be to another, yet despite the differences, the top holiday stresses are familiar to most of us. What can you do to make the holidays a happier time? Everyone’s situation is unique, but here are the top problems and solutions. All names and identities have been changed.

1. Unrealistic expectations of happiness, joy and acceptance

The holidays are supposed to be a joyous time. If you have unresolved issues, hopes run high that the festivities will propel family members to act with greater kindness and emotional responsibility. Unfortunately, holiday time is not necessarily the best time to try to settle grievances or have one of those long, heart-to-heart talks with a family member. In fact, you might end up with nothing more than a lot of words and raised hopes—with little follow-up after the holidays are over.

The first thing to do is to lay the groundwork for a renewed relationship long before the holidays. Start by sending emails or birthday and anniversary cards. You want to send the message that you care about them and that you have changed.

It’s usually not a good idea to play a game of history where you review your past complaints. A long family meeting where you air your past anger won’t necessarily result in changing other family members’ behavior or attitudes about you. More effective change usually comes from your acting differently—and surprising them with the new you. Acting unpredictable in a positive way is a potent strategy for shaking up family members’ old views and treatment of you.

For example, if you’ve been regarded as the wayward child, you can demonstrate your maturity by telling the family about your life changes and speaking to each relative about things that are important to each of them. Even though it can take months for attitudes and behavior to change, when you act in a different and positive way, the family is more likely to notice you’ve changed.

Of course, if there is a timely hot topic that has to be addressed, then speak to other family members about ways to coordinate a strategy. For example, a common issue is how to care for a close relative who has dementia or Alzheimer’s disease. Some families divide up the tasks of researching doctors, nursing homes and other care facilities in the area. Family members then use emails to remain in touch.

2. Rigid rituals

Rituals sustain the family emotional glue. They provide an easy format to recall and chart family growth, connection and cooperative decision-making. In addition, the holidays give families an opportunity to celebrate “who we are and why we matter.”
Later, as you mature, these family events provide a forum for testing your maturity, feelings and assumptions about yourself and others. You can assess family members with your own eyes and come to different or refined conclusions about how your family operates. You can forge your own identity and role as well as establish resources in the family through selected people.

However, rituals are often unresponsive to change. Family ruts are easy to get into. For example, mother always sits here, father there. It’s amazing to see the power of even these simple acts. Yet, not everything can stay the same. Family members are lost and added through death, marriage, birth and feuds. Life demands flexibility. Rather than complain about a ritual, recruit the key person in the solution. Be prepared to provide a reason and ideas.

For example, no one wants to hurt Cousin Dee’s expectations about hosting the Thanksgiving feast. However, now the family is too large to fit into her dining room. If you have a better idea, discuss it with other members, including the person whom Cousin Dee responds to with the least defensiveness. Then, have this person seek Dee’s advice about some related issue such as how to arrange the seating order or what chairs to use.

If you are that designated person, act perplexed about the best way to accommodate the growing family. You might mumble about moving chairs or using the kitchen. You might even say things such as: “Gee, it’s too bad Cousin Tina hasn’t offered to have the Thanksgiving meal at her house. Then we could have the next day brunch all day at your house, where it’s more fun and casual. Do you think Cousin Tina would want us messing up her new carpet?” Of course, you’ve already cleared it with Cousin Tina. The goals are to get creative and positive and to turn the key family members into key players in the solution.

Finally, take advantage of changes in the family to forge new traditions. Use events such as births, marriages, remarriages or college graduations as springboards for new gift-giving, different homes for the celebration or more flexible seating arrangements around the dining table. These changes might prompt innovative ways of sharing the holiday. For example, you can divide up Christmas into Christmas Eve, Christmas morning and Christmas dinner.

3. Issues of divorce and re-marriage: Emotional adjustment of children, acceptance of new partners or being alone

Divorce and remarriage challenge family interactions and rituals. Old feelings about former spouses or divorce in general can affect the family’s reactions. The family of the new spouse may have rituals that conflict with established ones of the other spouse. If all the major family players get along, invite the exes. This approach is especially important for young children who have trouble adjusting to being shuttled back and forth between family events.

Including the new spouse’s children can also cause problems. For example, Jesse was used to being the star athlete in the family. His mother worried that he might not welcome his new step-cousin who also happened to be the star athlete in the family of her new husband.

Solutions include making a list of potential problem areas and providing solutions. Discuss these solutions with key family members and ask for their advice. When Jesse’s new, blended family came together at Thanksgiving, his mother and step-father were smart enough to tell the parents of the cousin that they were bring video footage of Jesse’s recent top plays and to bring videos of their athlete son also. Luckily, the two boys played different positions, and each had a chance to show off his talents. The son and cousin bonded over football war stories rather than competed for the spotlight.

Being alone at the holidays can intensify issues of being single or divorced. Feeling alone in a crowd can be very painful. One way to lessen the discomfort is to stay in touch with other family members and ask them to help you by spending extra time with you or by not mentioning your divorce, for example. The goal is to take charge of your unhappiness and get remedies in motion before the holiday.

4. Absent spouses and other family members due to death, sickness or war

Every family deals with the hot topics of death and illness according to their comfort zone with uncomfortable feelings. Reactions range from avoidance to healthy grief to reverence and idealization.

For example, in Renee’s family, no one dared mention her grandfather who recently died in a knife fight in a federal prison. He was the shame of the family. Yet, the silence about him prodded the younger grandchildren to ask why they didn’t receive the candy basket that grandpa sent every year. Renee said the scrape of chair legs and the clink of forks filled the silence. The children asked again, and an aunt turned to them and said to be quiet.

In contrast, Bill’s mother died when Bill was fifteen. At the holidays, everyone mourned her loss by retelling stories about her beauty and the tragedy of her dying so young. But Bill, now an adult, recalled vivid and painful memories of his mother’s drug abuse and violent temper.

Usually, in families that mismanage grief and perceptions, there is at least one person who rings the bell of truth. Knowing when to challenge family views requires support from other family members and an accurate assessment of your family’s strengths and weaknesses. If you want to discuss taboo topics, you may first want to test the family emotional waters by finding out who shares your views and then develop a plan about what and when to broach the subject. Upsetting the Thanksgiving meal, for instance, is probably not the right moment to discuss grandpa. Instead, you might want to start email discussions about your feelings and see how the family responds.

In general, family members who are not present due to circumstances such as illness, death or war should not be overlooked. Susannah’s father served in Iraq during Christmas. The family decided to set a place for him, and everyone had a chance to say a few words about him. Susannah and her brother read letters addressed to him. At first, the ceremony brought tears, but then the reverence strengthened the family’s emotional connection to each other. Susannah said a sense of peace overrode their sorrow.

5. Overeating

You don’t have to gain weight during the holiday season. No one wants to start the New Year with yet another resolution to lose fifteen pounds. Of course, the best way to fight the sprawl is to get on an exercise and eating regiment months ahead of time. But, if you haven’t been so diligent, one solution is to start a Sensible Portion Club within your own family. Email everyone to join your club and pledge each other that you will all help each other not overeat.

If that doesn’t seem popular, recruit the few cooperative family members and agree to sit next to each other. Tracy even took the club a step further. She recruited the interested relatives, and they all agreed to have their own table—just like the kiddies table—so they could support each other’s self-control.

Don’t deprive yourself and miss out on Aunt Maya’s chocolate mudslide dessert. Instead, agree to have a taste—with nothing larger than a soup spoon.

6. Gifts: How much to spend and to whom to give them

Gift-giving, especially in large families, can be expensive, time-consuming and anxiety-provoking. Does Alyssa still like pink? Rather than being an overwhelming experience, gift-giving can become part of the family tradition. Some families put everyone’s name in a hat and each person draws the name of one person to receive a gift. Others set spending limits or agree to buy stocking stuffers and gift cards to favorite stores. Sam’s family pooled their money and took long weekends at a favorite place.

Giving to charities can also become a family tradition. Marsha’s parents decided that in order to get a gift, you first had to donate a toy, clothing or household goods to a local charity.

Don’t lose sight that gift giving should be fun and not a popularity contest. You can’t please everyone. If you assume that people are responsible for their own happiness, then you won’t waste time and energy worrying about things such as whether you should have bought Cousin Charlie a tie instead of a DVD.

7. Travel related problems: Expenses, distances, not enough time off from work

Holiday travel can often feel like a cruel test of your patience, pocketbook and perspiration. Travel delays, missed flights and cancellations are so common that people expect them now. No one can control weather and overbooking, but you can better prepare for mishaps. Here is a short list of suggestions to ease the travel burden.