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It might seem like a bit of an oxymoron, considering Thanksgiving’s typical reputation as the holiday of gluttonous overeating, but, in my opinion, Thanksgiving actually has the potential to be the most health-promoting holiday of them all.
And why is it that Thanksgiving is the healthiest holiday? These are the four main reasons that came to my mind:
1) On Thanksgiving We Spend Time Together With Family and Friends
While this is often true of other holidays as well, Thanksgiving is one of the main holidays that is designated as “family time.” On Thanksgiving, the focus is on spending time together with the people that we care about, and it is a time to reinforce family connections and to make special memories to look back to in future years.
This connection with family and friends is one that is vital for our overall well-being and one that can even help to reduce our stress levels (unless we find ourselves caught in the middle of a family feud, that is!).
2) On Thanksgiving We Eat with Enjoyment in a Relaxed Manner
Thanksgiving is usually a day when dietary restrictions fly out the window. Food is eaten in abundance and relished with enjoyment, and, rather than eating quickly to hurry off to the next thing on our to-do lists, we actually take the time to sit down and savor our food. And that’s how every meal should be!
Except for actual food allergies or sensitivities, being too restrictive about food usually only leads to stress and anxiety (neither of which are very productive for our health.) Though balance is important, and though it probably wouldn’t exactly be the best idea to have a slice of pumpkin, apple, and pecan pie every day of the year, Thanksgiving is a great reminder of the importance of focusing on nutrients rather than counting calories and of listening to our bodies rather than following every bit of dietary advice that we hear.
3) On Thanksgiving We Take a Break from Normal Routines
Thanksgiving can be a time to take a break from work and the usual busy schedule of life to focus on rest, relaxation, and spending time with loved ones. I use the word “can” because a lot of times we end up making Thanksgiving the complete opposite of a restful holiday by obsessing too much about having an elaborate 5-course meal and a perfectly decorated table.
Sometimes it’s easier said than done, but this year I’m trying to make Thanksgiving a more relaxing day by trying not to be such a perfectionist about every little detail of the meal. I’m keeping things a little bit simpler this year (three different types of pie probably aren’t really necessary), and I’m trying to plan ahead better than other years by doing some pre-baking and cooking the day before so that I have less to do on the actual holiday itself.
4) On Thanksgiving We Express Gratitude for Blessings Received
This last benefit is also probably the most important one. After all, giving thanks is what distinguishes Thanksgiving from all of the other holidays. And expressing gratitude on this day (and every other day too!) is one of the best things we can do for our health.
Numerous studies have linked gratitude with increased happiness and a better overall sense of well-being. But who needs a scientific study to tell them that? It’s plain and simple that being thankful makes us happier.
In addition to helping to reduce our stress levels and improving our digestion, expressing gratitude for the good things in our lives reminds us of all of the blessings that we have received, making us happier, and giving us a more positive outlook on life.
So, Let’s Be Thankful!
I want to make it a point this year to be more thankful and to focus on all of the positive things in my life, and not just on Thanksgiving Day. There are so many things I have to be thankful for, that the list could just go on and on and on. I’m thankful for my family and friends, my church, my dog, a warm home to live in, healthy food to eat, etc, etc. And I’m thankful for all of you who are reading this post! I’m very grateful to be a part of this amazing online community of people who support each other in living a healthy lifestyle.
What are some of the things that you’re thankful for this year? Share with us below in the comments, so we can spread the gratitude around! 🙂
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The information in this post is not to be taken as medical advice and is not intended to diagnose or treat any disease.