The quality of our life is a direct reflection of how much we appreciate ourselves and the people we love.
Thanksgiving offers a timely invitation to give thanks for what we have in our lives. Family and friends gather, delicious food is shared, and life slows down a bit. Yet, the holiday can also welcome many emotions and stressors – frustrating travel plans, unfinished work projects, or longing for lost loved ones.
Mindfulness allows us to connect to the present with a non-judgemental awareness. World-renowned neuroscientist Richard Davidson also found evidence that mindfulness helps increase resilience, which allows us to bounce-back more quickly from difficult situations. Whether you’re dealing with a delayed flight, missing a loved one, or overwhelmed with in-laws, here is a step-by-step guide to maintaining the spirit of the holiday all Thanksgiving weekend.
Tip 1: Start With The Right Mindset
Before you venture out for the holiday, take 5-minutes to connect with your breath. Settle into the present and allow yourself to let go of any stress or worrisome thoughts that you’ve been carrying.
You may be flying to your parents, driving to your in-laws or welcoming visitors to your home. This 5-minute meditation will help you get ready, feel prepared and relax before your upcoming travels.
Tip 2: Acknowledge Your Feelings Ahead of Time
Thanksgiving brings us together with family and friends for one day, if not, an entire weekend. The holiday may be a time where we have to face family tension, a first holiday without a loved one, or too much time together that ultimately fosters feelings of irritation.
Before you embrace these encounters, take 5 minutes to acknowledge what you are feeling. Are you excited, sad, angry, lonely? Give yourself the space to sit with your thoughts and feelings; recognize if a strong emotion is present. Acknowledging your emotions is the first step to releasing them.
This guided meditation helps you sit with your emotions so that you can respond vs react to conflict or emotionally-charged exchanges. Even better, a seated practice can help you deal with your family and cultivate love.
Tip 3: Fill Your Plate
Thanksgiving is arguably the best food day of the year with turkey, endless side dishes, and leftovers galore. The balance between indulgence and healthy eating can be troublesome for many of us who want to stay on track with fitness and wellness goals.
Mindful eating is similar to a sitting meditation, only it involves delicious food. This technique helps us connect more deeply with the food on our plate with more gratitude and less self-judgment. Even better, mindful eating can help increase our satisfaction with a meal. This Thanksgiving, don’t skimp on sides or fear over-indulgence. Instead, grab your favorite dishes and try a 5-minute mindful eating meditation to use all five senses to savor that pile of stuffing. If you prefer not to meditate at the group table, try this meditation the morning of Thanksgiving to help you practice techniques you can later apply to the group feast.
Tip 4: Appreciate Yourself First
As the old saying goes, we must take care of ourselves before we take care of others. This includes self-appreciation. Self-love can be a powerful force that allows us to give and receive love more fully. Plus, prioritizing ourselves allows us to show up with gratitude and love for those around us.
Take time during the holiday to appreciate yourself and all that your mind and body do.
Tip 5: Focus On Abundance
Gratitude is the key to abundance. Focus on what you have to better appreciate life’s pleasures, both big and small.
This 3-part series helps to guide you into the spirit of Thanksgiving. Reflect on your food, loved ones and life itself. Invite your family and friends to join a group meditation so that you can all get into a positive mindset of abundance.
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