THANKSGIVING is A Dish Best Served DAILY!
In our modern world, it’s getting harder and harder to relate to the Norman Rockwell paintings of big holiday meals and calm serene Hallmark® movie moments. Why? Because our anxieties are overflowing, some of you are still stressed from last year and perhaps if we’re honest, we just aren’t very grateful. However, if we took a huge 5-second breath in, held it for 5, and then slowly exhaled while we thought of something we were grateful for, even doing that just once would help us to find a great sense of calm. Try it, maybe we can’t find appreciation for everything, but our heart rates may come down. Try it! If you can’t think of anything just silently say, “I am so grateful for Thanksgiving.” Now could you try to do this daily, not just once a year?
We know all the sayings! “You don’t get off the couch and run a marathon in a day.” “Rome wasn’t built in a day.” “All good things take time.” Dr. Hans Selye, “the father of stress research,” is famous for his quote, “It’s not stress that kills us, it’s our reaction to it.” One of the greatest antidotes to stress is gratitude! When you practice gratitude, it becomes a new way of thinking, speaking, listening, acting, and experiencing life. Adding in small snacks, or dishes of gratitude to your daily life can serve up big platters of release and relief that start to welcome a new way of “being.” As we welcome thanks into our daily lives, our mindsets change, our health increases, our relationships can develop and before you know it, those holidays really can become new seasons of joy instead of despair, because we have done something to repair our stress. So, let’s talk recipes of THANKS!
We have our quick bite of thanks by breathing in for 5, holding for 5, and breathing out while thinking of something we are thankful for. Add a little more flavor by thinking of something to do with the 5 senses – the first time think of a smell you are grateful for, the next a sound you are thankful for, and so on.
A bigger bite of thanks is writing it down. Write a list of things you are grateful for right now! Better yet, set a timer and just keep listing those things you are grateful for, for two minutes! It’s ok to repeat things. Then if you have time, pick your top three things and maybe journal about why you are so thankful for them. Writing about gratitude is very fulfilling.
Another great dish of thanks that will leave you very satisfied is a gratitude walk. Movement helps to end stress cycles, and adding gratitude at the same time is a recipe for success! Go for a walk and notice all there is to notice while silently saying thank you. Say it out loud or sing it if you want to. Welcome gratitude for the beauty in nature, the fresh air, the blue sky, and everything you can.
Lastly, while this journey is about feeding yourself, you may have some leftovers to share. If so, saying thank you to others is contagious and necessary. Thank people whenever and wherever you can! Too many people say, “sorry,” all day, what good is that? Building people up with gratitude says, “I see you!” Being seen is very fulfilling! Offer that dish to everyone you can!
While the big bird is still thawing out for Thursday, you still have plenty of time to get your daily dish of thanks on today! And tomorrow! Make your new diet of gratitude like a vitamin for your mind, body, and soul, which nourishes you even if you don’t have plans for Thanksgiving, or even if you can’t stand your family that’s coming to town. You have a responsibility to feed yourself, so why not welcome a dish of thanks daily? People who choose to see appreciation have far less stress and illness than those who are critical. Serve yourself first this year and serve a bit of thanks to others too. Start today because Thanksgiving is a dish best served daily!
Director of The Wellness Center