Finding time during the holiday season to give thanks for the things we have in our lives, the things we look forward to receiving, and the gift we give others with our love, attention, and presence puts us in the perfect state for growth, repair, regeneration, and receiving. How so?
Because time has become such a big commodity, the majority of people spend their life unconsciously moving from point to point, meeting to meeting, place to place, and rushing to get the next thing done. Throw in stress and 70% of the time the majority of people live their lives in anxiety, worry, fear, suffering, pain, aggression, hostility, and prejudice. This is not a state for growth and repair; rather—in terms of health and energy—it puts us in a deficit.
To counter this, when you sit down and break bread with the people you care about, the people you love, or even by yourself, try a daily practice of Thanks-Giving.
By taking a moment to pause, give thanks, and either reflect on the circumstances that you overcame, mastered, or succeeded in changing during the day—or how you gave of yourself to others that day—causes you to move from the sympathetic (fight or flight) to the parasympathetic (growth and repair) nervous system. This causes you to get present and remember what's important to you and what you value. But it's not enough to just think about it; it's also important to embrace the emotions of feeling blessed for what you have. As I always say, gratitude is the ultimate state of receivership.
I always say this is because usually when you receive something or something favorable happens to you, you feel gratitude, so the emotional signature is receiving. Thus, the simple act of changing nervous systems (switching from that fight or flight nervous system where blood is leaving the digestive organs and going to the extremities, and your heart and respiratory rate are on alert) before a meal puts us in a good state to metabolize, digest, process, break down foods, and assimilate.
So the simple practice of opening your heart, looking the people you care about in the eyes, and feeling gratitude for the moment in which you are alive—not to mention recognizing you’re surrounded by the people you love—allows us to really be in the perfect state to receive, metabolize, digest, heal, and strengthen our inner state.
Finally, reflecting on giving is also a powerful practice to partake in at the end of the day. What were you able to give to your family, your friends, your coworkers, your community, and the world? This obviously does not have to be material things, but more about what you gave to those around you with your energy, being, and love.
This is all to say that the practice of feeling thanks and giving shouldn’t be something we only think about during the holidays, but something we practice daily.