Moment for Health: Gratitude for the Holidays

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For me, it’s always the birds that lighten my heart in the morning. Their chirps of cheer and greetings to the rising sun (or sacrificial worm) tickles my ears down into my soul. All is wafting towards contentment until the fears and obligations of the day start to awaken in my brain and the lightness of being diminishes to a miniscule spark. It soon extinguishes to a mere ash between the unexpected bill in the mail and a traffic snarl with only five minutes left to my destination.

Life throws zingers every day, and now with the holiday consumer ritual well underway, the added time crunch and arrival of relatives is sure to bring along obstacles that can bring any Olympian to their knees. It can’t be stressed enough how stress places unneeded stress on the body. Did I mention stress?

We must all be acutely aware of the small wears and tears this holiday season is bound to bring. Of course there is yoga and exercise to dissipate or let off stem. Reducing caffeine, sugar and sodas gives the added edge on patience. Pure, clean water fills the cells so energy can keep its pace. Of course, eating healthfully strengthens the body so feeling good becomes commonplace.

Sadly the holidays leave little room for considerations of health with all the shopping, parties and fruitcakes that arrive.

So what I suggest for the days to come (and beyond), is practice the attitude of gratitude. Gratitude enhances empathy and lessens aggression. So when a person of lesser gratitude swings into the parking spot you diligently were waiting for, substitute “Thanks” instead of a choice word that describes the other driver’s mental acuity. Even a facetious “thanks” is better than angry words.

Gratitude enhances health by inducing the relaxation response. It brings the “ahhhh” in cells that resonant throughout the body. Sleep becomes better. Blood pressure drops. Vitality and energy increases. Optimism abounds and with it, a healthy immune system that stays steady and ready throughout the season.

Happiness happens when gratitude laces the heart. Joy is as simple as a small and unobtrusive thoughtful gesture or compliment to a family member, coworker or stranger; a perfect way to spread the holiday cheer. Gratitude keeps us grounded and aware of the true meaning of goodness and love; the little things that make up the composite of life’s meaningful moments as they swiftly pass on by.

This holiday season, take a moment each day to be grateful for all that comes your way.

Here are some considerations:

  1. Thank the clerk checking your items. She or he often gets lost in the sea of customer demands and complaints.
  2. Thank your cranky mother-in-law. Her status as mother has diminished at this point and probably needs a little more loving to make up for it.
  3. Thank the shipping guys and gals for their steady hard work to deliver your packages through rain, sleet, snow, or southern California traffic.
  4. Thank the airlines for the layovers and cancellations. How else were you to meet your new best friend or encounter a potential client?
  5. Thank the long lines at the store, the sleepless nights wrapping presents and the fire extinguisher that put out Uncle Hank’s fire on the Christmas tree.
  6. Thank the home that provides shelter and the bed that provides comfort.
  7. Thank the body for its endless wonder – a beating heart, eyes that see, hands that touch, legs that walk.
  8. Thank the sun, the day, and all the wonders life brings this holiday season.
  9. And especially thank the editor for many deadlines missed.
  10. Happy Holidays to All!

Contact Gina at [email protected].

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