Mindfulness as a benefit to mental health is nothing new and has taken a much more prominent role in people’s lives. School children now have lessons devoted to it and employers are encouraged to promote mindfulness to care for their employee’s mental health. Being aware of your body and your breathing are core principles of being mindful. These can be applied to family mealtimes at home but what about larger celebrations such as Thanksgiving? Many Americans starve themselves on the morning and then devour as much food as possible. This is far from mindful, and that overfull feeling is far from comfortable.
Have a Healthy Thanksgiving by Being Mindful of What You Eat
Thanksgiving can be turned into a mindful experience, and a healthy Thanksgiving, where food is enjoyed and appreciated rather than just eaten in huge quantities.
Start the Day Right
Treat the morning as any other morning of the year and start with a light, nutritious breakfast. This helps to keep things normal and stops you craving food right up until the Thanksgiving Dinner. Remember, this is just another day of the week so start as you normally would.
Enjoy the Company
This is a social event and a chance for families and friends to come together and be thankful. Throughout the meal talk to each other (without a mouthful of food) and catch up on any news. This slows down the pace of your eating and makes you feel content, and not need to loosen off the belt buckle!
Enjoy the Food
Before you start to eat, look at what is on your plate and really take note of it. How much meat do you have? How does it look on the plate? Which parts are you really looking forward to? This mindfulness approach allows you to be fully aware of and appreciate the food you about to have. This also sparks conversations about the food. This might be easier said than done depending on the company but making the effort to take a moment really helps. It also helps you appreciate the flavors of your food as you are not racing to eat as much as possible, as quickly as possible. Plenty of sips of water throughout the meal also stop hunger being confused with thirst.
Guilt Free Eating and Drinking
There is absolutely no reason to feel guilty about what you eat and drink during Thanksgiving, including desserts and alcohol. Apply the same eating principles to desserts as you did with the main meal. Notice it on your plate or in the bowl. What shape does it take? Which part will taste the most delicious? If you are going to drink alcohol, have water available too. Mindful Thanksgiving Meals are not about carrot sticks and water.
Consider Others Mental Health
If you are the Thanksgiving host, you have a lot to think about so staying focussed is key. However, some of your guests might be having troubling thoughts about the meal. Dietary requirements can cause problems for people who have allergies or intolerances. It is always best to check these in advance so eliminate any unnecessary stresses.
The Day After
The morning after the night before shouldn’t be a stressful time. Continuing the mindful approach the next day and beyond, will massively help your mental health. Appreciate and notice the leftovers and think of meals you can create from them. These could be given to less fortunate people in your community and would continue the being thankful message of the day. Remember the nice moments from the day and take time to think about them. Think about how they made you feel at the time and capture that feeling again.
As the name suggests, Thanksgiving is about giving thanks to friends, family and loved ones. It should be a lovely day to spend together, where taking some moments during the day to just notice things and truly appreciate everything, no matter how small that detail is.
About the Writer: Eileen Harrison is an accomplished content creator who produces articles for websites, blogs, articles and social media platforms. She is also one of the many professional essay writers at Last Minute Writing and Research Papers UK. In her spare time she also writes essays and blog articles.