What does it mean to be thankful? To me, it means expressing gratitude for all that I have, and trusting in all the good that is to come. Gratitude doesn’t occur in words alone. It must also be …
What does it mean to be thankful? To me, it means expressing gratitude for all that I have, and trusting in all the good that is to come. Gratitude doesn’t occur in words alone. It must also be met with true belief in what I’m saying and a cultivated feeling in my body. If one of these parts is missing, it’s as if it doesn’t count.
Achieving all three components of gratitude requires me to be present and conscious of all that I am consuming. We are pulled further and further away from ourselves as our consumption increases, and it becomes much more difficult to truly be thankful for what we have. I would argue that consumption includes not only what we eat, but also people, ideas, and conversations. It’s crucial we are mindful of our consumption to move towards a healthy Thanksgiving holiday.
What does it look like to be mindful of our food consumption? It’s easy to get sucked into the dopamine rush of having so much delicious food available to us, zone out, and approach Thanksgiving dinner in a vortex that leaves ourselves behind. It’s almost like our mind-body connection becomes severed and we revert to our animalistic instincts of eating as much as possible right now because we aren’t sure where our next meal may come from. I found that as I have become more present and aware of my food consumption, I’ve enjoyed the holiday more.
Mindful consumption of food can look like eating slowly, paying attention to how your food tastes, and really chewing it, having conversations about the food, and coming back to that deep-seated feeling of gratitude through our words, feelings, and belief about the food.
On a more tangible level, we can also help our bodies digest our food well by eating our vegetables first followed by protein and eating everything we desire to in moderation.
It’s okay to take a small amount of food and come back for more, or not finish what’s on your plate if you’re feeling full. Give yourself permission to prioritize feeling your best over pleasing others.
Consumption of other people and their thoughts, ideas, and conversations can be more challenging to moderate but is just as possible and important to be mindful of. I used to feel anxious around family gatherings like Thanksgiving because I was worried about having to answer questions and defend decisions to family members who may not understand or agree. Although we can’t control what other people think or say, we can control our response.
It’s crucial to pause as the moment between stimulus and response is where our power lies, and we can find our power by taking time before our gatherings to ground into ourselves. Take time to consider what is truly you, and don’t be afraid to say no when being asked to do something that doesn’t align with your core values.
The best way to consciously consume ideas and conversations that lift you up are to share positive, growth-promoting ideas and begin those conversations. Don’t wait for someone else to take the lead. Step out of the box, be the leader of the room, and initiate a new type of conversation that you leave feeling good about.
It’s our responsibility to create the experiences we desire, and the energy and intentions we bring into our family gatherings will be met by others. Hope, positivity, and gratitude are contagious, and I challenge you to not only practice these through your words, but also through your thoughts, beliefs, feelings, and actions.
I wish you a happy Thanksgiving and hope you have an endless list of things to be grateful for this year.
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