From pie to turkey to the gathering of loved ones, Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays for so many different reasons. My goal is always to host a meal that’s as tasty as it is healthy, and encourage my family to try new dishes each year. The biggest success for me was in the lessons learned from Thanksgiving that I can apply to each day of the year.
These three tips are a culmination of three years focusing on a healthy mindset as much as a healthy diet. Balance is key and as you’re looking to your portions and calorie count, take a moment to check in with what’s going on in your mind and heart.
It seems obvious, but giving thanks for all things, big and small, is such an important exercise for healthy living. Many leave those expressions of gratitude for that time you go around the dinner table right before you dig into the Thanksgiving feast, but consider each moment of the day, and the days thereafter, an opportunity to embrace the upside and help alleviate the negative tension or stress that builds up over time.
There was a time that I couldn’t see the value in saying thanks for those smaller moments, but I’ve learned that it’s in those periods of openness when I can step outside whatever is dragging me down, I’m able to feel truly fulfilled and happy. You appreciate more and learn to be a little more selfless along the way. Don’t save the gratitude for one day; make it a daily practice and pay it forward.
Forgiveness is one of those buzzwords that gets thrown around a lot when you’re talking about self-improvement. But how often do you truly forgive? Where you fully release the burden of whatever fear or anger or sadness that a person or situation has caused you? I believe that we often say we forgive but in actuality, some part of us holds onto that pain. It’s difficult to let go, and to let go wholeheartedly. ‘m still learning how to do this myself, but I’ve come to embrace the notion of just letting go and cutting myself some slack along the way.
Beating yourself up for that extra piece of pie you had after dinner? That’s okay, let it go. That doesn’t mean you’ve completely screwed up your health goals or that you’re a failure. Instead, refocus that negative energy on making the most out of each moment you have with your loved ones.
Learning to live in the moment and relish it is a challenge, but a worthy one. Too often we stress about what we did or what we have to do. We don’t spend enough time thinking about what we’re doing right now. In conversations, group meetings, or phone calls we’re all most likely reliving something in our heads or busy thinking about anything but what’s happening right in front of us. Constantly living outside of the moment doesn’t give us room to truly engage all of our sense and experience things fully aware and awake. How can we appreciate life when we’re not really experiencing it?
Consider this the next time you sit around the dinner table with loved ones. Are you listening to what they’re saying? Are you enjoying your meal, noticing the textures and flavors with each bite? Are you relaxed and calm with no thought of schedules or emails or texts?
You’ll be amazed at what your answers are to those questions and how incredibly satisfying it would feel if you could apply that level of mindfulness to your next meal. I dare you to try it.
How was your Thanksgiving? What did you do to make it healthy this year? Do you practice gratitude, forgiveness, and mindfulness?