November kicks off the hectic holiday season. In a few shorts weeks it will be Thanksgiving that is quickly followed by endless amounts of holiday preparation and parties in the month of December. It’s easy to get caught up in the hustle and bustle and to forget the key purpose of Thanksgiving: giving thanks and being thankful. This year, I want to encourage you to take a moment to be thankful for your body and your health.
Women, in particular, often have a really hard time being thankful for and appreciative of their bodies. They may look in the mirror each day wishing for a different reflection to appear. Some are very restrictive about their food intake and spend hours exercising in hopes of seeing something different when they look in the mirror again the next day. Others eat healthy and exercise due to a sense of guilt rather than a desire to nurture and be healthy. How can we transition away from being driven to eat right and exercise by negative motivations and start focusing on the more positive desires of nurturing and caring for ourselves?
Perhaps, like many things in life, it takes practice. Do we need to practice thankfulness so that it becomes a part of our normal thought process? According to Mary J. Lore, author of Managing Thought: Think Differently. Think Powerfully. Achieve New Levels of Success, “Thankfulness is one of the quickest and most powerful ways to create a change in our circumstances and move us in a direction that serves our purpose.” So, if we learn to be more thankful for, and subsequently more nurturing of our bodies, will we be more likely to feel positively about the bodies we have and less driven to pursue a different one? What do you have to lose by giving it a try?
Lore’s book offers some steps you can take to practice thinking thoughts of thankfulness and being thankful. For example, you can create a list of the things you are thankful for and at the end of each day reflect on those things. Are you thankful that you have your mother’s eyes, good hearing or a strong body that gave birth to your children? In those moments before you go to sleep, take a few minutes to think about this list and maybe try to add something new to the list each day or week. In addition, when you are having one of those moments when you are looking in the mirror at something you aren’t feeling so thankful for, divert your eyes and your mind to one of the other areas you included on your list. Like all things in life, nothing is perfect, even your body. Given the alternatives, however, shouldn’t we all be thankful for the health we have and the things about our body that we do like? The more positive and thankful thoughts you have over time, the less room there is for the more negative dialogue that goes through your mind. Consequently, if you are thankful for your body, then you are more likely to adopt healthy eating and living habits as nourishment for the body you appreciate rather than as punishment for the body you are dissatisfied with.
In this month of thanks giving, give thanks for your body and for your continued good health. When you look in the mirror tomorrow, consider this quote from Dr. Wayne W. Dyer: "When you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change." Happy Thanksgiving!