Appreciate your body and soul this Thanksgiving

Olivia Jones

The much-anticipated sigh and “ahhhhh” of Thanksgiving break is about to be among us. No genie required, we are granted a pause from the goings-on of college life and all things UK; unless you’re one of the wise who chose to get ahead on assignments and prepare for finals (props to you).

When Thanksgiving comes to mind, what thoughts are evoked? What images come to mind? 

The most common response is likely, “FOOD,” and I have to say, that saddens my heart. 

Food is nutritious—it gives us the energy to do the things we love, it heals ailments, it can be offered as a demonstration of love and kindness. However, we take ourappreciation of food too far whenwe have a holiday where we’reexpected to gorge and have all tummies filled to their rims. Is it a memorable experience to dine with loved ones? Yes. 

Is it meaningful to help create a dish and see the faces of those around you light up with each bite? Yes. 

Can it be pretty damn tasty? Yes. 

But, like I said, we take it waytoo far. 

Balance is the key here. We should adopt a mindful approach to the holiday and have our plates filled with aromatic conversations, sides of smiles and a generous dollop of gratitude. 

Allow Melody Beattie to inspire your mantra for this season with her quote: “Gratitude turns what we have into enough, and more.” She writes, “It turns denial into acceptance, chaos into order, confusion into clarity…it makes sense of our past, brings peace for today and creates a vision for tomorrow.”

Yoga is the ultimate example of gratitude. The practice is a flowing “thank you” to your body. With each pose and transition, you’re subconsciously thanking your muscles for cooperating, your breath for flowing, your muscle fascia for elongating and your souls for enlightening. Yoga encourages us to find power in the pause and “brings peace for today.” Once you establish a regular practice, it also “creates a vision for tomorrow.”

This year, let the Thanksgiving festivities represent our gratitude for all things and serve as a reminder to slow down and acknowledge the ever-present “more.” 

If this resonates with you and your gratitude plate still happens to end up with a second serving of sweet potato casserole and a third serving of grandma’s corn pudding, don’t hate yourself. Bring the gratitude mantra to center stage of your thoughts, and perform Act 1 of the many mindfulness scenes to come. Acknowledge where you are, whom you’re surrounded by, and take the focus away from the food, whether it’s a thought of disappointment or thoughts of extra servings. Let your metaphorical plate be replenished with gratitude.  

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