Thanksgiving, One Healthy Aspect

   Written by on November 17, 2017 at 10:45 am
Cheryl Gowin and Dennis Gowin.  Call us at our counseling practice with your feedback, comments, issues, or questions at 434-808-2637.

Cheryl Gowin and Dennis Gowin.  Call us at our counseling practice with your feedback, comments, issues, or questions at 434-808-2637.

With Thanksgiving approaching, what is in your thoughts?  Are your thoughts creating a list of who will be coming for Thanksgiving celebrations?  What family favorites are you going to include on the holiday menu?  Who gets along and who will have to be seated at opposite ends of the table?  What is the best timing for the turkey versus the football schedule?  The Viking and Lions are at 12:30, LA Chargers and Cowboys at 4:30 and Giants and Redskins at 8:30; so Thanksgiving dinner at 3:30.  Lastly, are you thinking about whether to go to Black Friday sales or not?

Are you having any thought about how to make Thanksgiving healthy?  This is not about taking the calories out of the turkey dressing and gravy (which seems counter to the very concept of Thanksgiving).  Did you know that gratitude has documented positive health benefits?  Yes, researchers have found that gratitude, feeling thankful and expressing thank you makes you happier and healthier.  You get the best effect by routinely expressing gratitude; however if your natural tendency looks more like Eeyore, don’t despair.  Robert Emmons, a gratitude researcher at the UC- Davis, proffers, “Simple exercises can give even skeptics a short-term mood boost, and once you get started, you find more and more things to be grateful for.”  C. S. Lewis supports the concept of continuous gratitude when he writes, “We ought to give thanks for all fortune: if it is good, because it is good, if bad, because it works in us patience, humility and contempt of this world and the hope of our eternal country.”

Chris Peterson, a psychology professor at the University of Michigan, assigns his students to write a “gratitude letter,” a thank-you note to someone in their lives and to read the letter to that someone.  Peterson says the resulting effect is that his students feel happier “100 percent of the time.”  Who have you not thanked?  Write them a thank you letter.

Say “thank you” to everyone, for everything.  Soon your mind will fall in line with your words.  Do you think you don’t have anyone to thank?  How about thanking the mail delivery service for bringing you the mail.  Thank the cashier at McDonald’s for taking your order.  Thank the accounting department at work for processing your paycheck.  Put a thank you note in all your bills this month.  Aren’t you thankful that you have water and electricity?  Think about all the people who do things for you every day.  Doesn’t the thought of all those people doing things for you make you feel thankful?

Ok, so the direct approach leaves you cold.  Try the indirect approach.  Dedicate five minutes every day to a gratitude journal.  Write down things for which you are thankful.  Anything – the beautiful fall colors, the fact you don’t have any deciduous trees in your yard, your team won, you did not have to watch Sport Center 12 times.  After a few weeks, you will be surprised how much better you feel, how much energy you have and how alert you feel.

Remember practice makes perfect.  Take a few minutes sometime this week to write your gratitude list.  Here is the short list of what I am thankful for:

–  A loving family, spouse, brothers, sisters, cousins, nieces, nephews, aunts, uncles, and friends who are like family

  Phone/Facetime that allows me to be able easily to keep in touch

  Medical situations that are now 100% clear

  Life in Buckingham

  A great church

  A loving God

  Great memories of past Thanksgivings and the hope of many more in the future!

 What about you?  What are you grateful for this Thanksgiving?  How can you carry that gratitude with you for the rest of the year?

Rejoice in the Lord always; again, I say, rejoice!  Let your gentle spirit be known to all men.  The Lord is near.  Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.  And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.  Philippians 4:4-7

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Call us with your feedback, comments, issues, or questions; our phone number is 434-808-2637.

About Cheryl & Dennis Gowin

Cheryl Gowin, Counselor and Dennis Gowin, Director of Discovery Counseling Center. Contact us with your feedback, comments, issues or questions at 434-808-2426 or dgowin@discoverycounseling.org.

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