Woman at daybreak with outstretched arms as if in prayer. Quote reads, ““Be thankful for what you have; you’ll end up having more. If you concentrate on what you don’t have, you will never, ever have enough” by Oprah Winfrey

Mindful Eating is Mindfulness

As a Food Relationship expert, I use mindful eating as a tool or skill to help break through beliefs and blocks surrounding our relationships with food and our bodies. But as mindful eating is just an extension of mindfulness, flexing in that area primes you for all mindfulness practices–especially gratitude practices.

Mindfulness is the practice of purposely focusing your attention on the present moment—and accepting it without judgment. Mindfulness is scientifically supported with benefits for the mind, body, and spirit. In particular it has been found to be a extremely useful in stress reduction and in increasing overall positivity, happiness, and an attitude of gratitude.

So, it stands to reason that mindful eating is way to boost your health. It most certainly can! It is a very effective tool to get in touch with your body’s hunger and fullness cues, learn what food make you feel great (and not so great), cultivates gratitude for food, and can result in increased consumption of quality food–to name a few!

Mindful eating can be tough to practice during the holidays, as we rush between holiday parties and recitals and family gatherings. More on that later. I wanted to take a moment to talk about how gratitude can have some of the same benefits; after all, it is the season of giving, and there is no better giving than thanksgiving!

As we get into the groove of the holidays, we can endeavor to be ever-mindful of the best of the season, and the best of people.

“Thankfulness creates gratitude, which generates contentment that causes peace.”

— Todd Stocker

Emotions, Feelings, and Thoughts-Oh, My!

Emotions can bottle up inside you, but you don’t have to let them. You can master your thoughts, feelings, and emotions and learn to let them out in positive ways, so they don’t cause you stress and harm.

I work with some pretty awesome folks who somewhere along the way let their emotions rule their heads and then bellies and then lives. It doesn’t take much for that to happen. It happened to me and developing a mindfulness based practice was instrumental in helping me get back in control

Mindfulness begets thoughtfulness. Thoughtfulness begets reflection. Reflection begets possibilities. Belief in the possibilities is where the change in action and growth happen. It is really quite remarkable how the world looks to you when your perspective changes. It is all in your mind!

One of the best ways to improve your health and handle your emotions is by expressing your gratitude. Yes, really!

Mindfulness can:

  • help relieve stress
  • treat heart disease
  • lower blood pressure
  • reduce chronic pain
  • improve sleep
  • alleviate gastrointestinal difficulties. This is also a benefit of mindful eating!

Let’s look at some intentional gratitude practices that can help you get your Zen on and be healthier!

Season of Gratitude

Ask yourself: What are you thankful for? Who matters in your life? Even when life may not be going as planned, there are still many things to be grateful for.

“Acknowledging the good that you already have in your life is the foundation for all abundance.” 

Eckhart Tolle

Give Your Gratitude Away

No matter how much you appreciate someone in your life, that person may not have any idea about how you feel. Rather than just assume they know your thoughts and feelings, go ahead and speak up. Tell them how you really feel and what’s in your heart.

See the smile? It feels good, doesn’t it? When you smile back, laugh, and even share tears of joy and love, it helps your heart, mind, and body thrive. It releases a flood of chemicals that your body just loves. It’s a “feel-good” thing to do. That’s true for both you and the receiver of your gratitude.

Maybe you’re grateful for something you have, as opposed to a person. Did you ever think about sending a thankful message to the company that makes the products you love? They probably hear all about customer complaints, but how much gratitude do they get for the work they’ve done to make lives better or more convenient? Give them some of your gratitude and you’ll spread joy all around!

“Feeling gratitude and not expressing it is like wrapping a present and not giving it.” 

-William Arthur Ward

Ways to Show Your Gratitude

Showing gratitude is something you can do quite easily and all it costs you is a little bit of time and effort.

Here are some ideas to get you started:

  • Tell your loved ones you care for them.
  • Hug a friend who’s hurting.
  • Smile at a stranger.
  • Write to a company whose product or service you really love.
  • Make time to listen to someone who needs to talk.
  • Spend some time out in nature, appreciating the beauty of creation.
  • Volunteer your services or help someone in need.

You can also show your gratitude just for being alive by treating others well and being kind to yourself. Relaxing and taking time to unwind from the stress of everyday life is very important, and you’ll be happier and healthier because of it.

Focus on What Really Matters

Many people are unhappy with their circumstances, and it’s often because they feel they don’t have enough money, a big house, or the ultimate car. These things are nice, but in the grand scheme of things, they don’t really matter. After all, when you’re on your deathbed, will you wish you had that red Ferrari? Or will you wish that you had more time with your loved ones?

“Gratitude and attitude are not challenges; they are choices.” 

-Robert Braathe

Connect with what really matters by being grateful for all you’ve been given.

There will be obstacles and stumbling blocks in life, but there is joy all around you as well. When you tap into that joy, keep a positive attitude, and show how grateful you are, you’ll prove that you’re able to let go of unnecessary baggage. It’s a great feeling, and one that you can give yourself, today, right now. What a wonderful thing to be grateful for!

Hopefully, you have been inspired to not only explore mindfulness, but also to freely express your gratitude this season and all year!

If you are interested in learning more about Mindful Eating as way to cultivate mindfulness and to develop a better relationship with food and yourself, grab a freebie about how to get started here!

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