Thanksgiving is almost here and many of us feel compelled to be grateful. You can recite all the affirmations you want, but when you don’t really believe them, stress sets in. Many people go to extremes during Thanksgiving – marathon meals, marathon expenses, marathon get-togethers, marathon family arguments and marathon exhaustion.
This year change the dynamics of the ritual celebration. Thanksgiving can actually be a healthy experience for body, mind and spirit starting the holiday season on the right foot – fewer resolutions to make this New Year. Did you know that socializing has been ranked as beneficial for health on par with exercise?
7 ingredients for a healthy Thanksgiving:
- You are above ground. Celebrate life. Inhale and absorb the simple pleasures. Decorate a lamp like hanging circles made from construction paper expressing your wishes and appreciation.
- Keep it simple. There is no point to serve so many dazzling dishes to wow your guests while you feel deader than the turkey. If your house is too clean and everything is too perfect, people are not going to feel comfortable as they will be afraid to disturb anything or flow in conversation. There is no substitute for relaxed good cheer which welcomes people to your home for warmth and positive energy.
- Transform yourself into a guest in your own home. If you are in the kitchen up to your elbows in stress, you are not enjoying the holiday and your family and friends are not enjoying you. Let everyone feel important and help you out like a team.
- Use the holiday as an opportunity to forgive and forget; no need to let pride build a barrier to loving relationships. Reconnect with family and friends as the occasion calls for it – no explanations necessary. You can incorporate a new forgiveness ritual as part of the Thanksgiving meal – followed by a sweet table.
- A turkey dinner can turn out to be a healthy meal. White meat turkey is a source of lean protein. Celebrate the good earth with a rainbow array of fruits and vegetables. For example, sweet potatoes don’t need adornments like marshmallows. Just bake them.
- Open up to another person’s view or differing opinion. Whenever you see the negative in someone, begin to focus on what is good. Become aware every time you go into critical mode because it is usually your weakness and not theirs. Similarly, when someone criticizes you de-constructively, it is usually their personal issue.
- After dinner take a brisk Thanksgiving walk with your guests to prevent fat deposits from sticking to the arteries. This will be a super bonding experience as everyone’s endorphins will increase from the walk.
Debbie Mandel, MA is the author of Addicted to Stress: A Woman's 7 Step Program to Reclaim Joy and Spontaneity in Life
, Changing Habits: The Caregivers' Total Workout
and Turn On Your Inner Light: Fitness for Body, Mind and Soul,
a stress-reduction specialist, motivational speaker, a personal trainer and mind/body lecturer. She is the host of the weekly Turn On Your Inner Light Show on WGBB AM1240 in New York City , produces a weekly wellness newsletter, and has been featured on radio/ TV and print media. To learn more visit: www.turnonyourinnerlight.com