How to Have a Happier, Healthier Thanksgiving This Year

A “serving of gratitude” offers numerous benefits, including helping decrease the chances of losing your temper when Aunt Alice asks why you still aren’t married and don’t have a baby. Research has found remembering what the celebration is really about — giving thanks — makes people less likely to become aggressive when provoked, and allows them to get through the holiday without emotional or physical injury, according to The New York Times.

“It’s easy to be thankful when life seems to be going swimmingly well, but during those especially challenging times, an attitude of gratefulness can be hard to cultivate. The holidays offer an opportunity to pause and reconnect with family and friends, which can make for a wonderful time, but for many, it can mean a lot of stress, too. One stress-free way to let people know you are thankful for them is by sending Thanksgiving ecards by Hallmark, and with Thanksgiving Day officially kicking off the holiday season, what better way to start things off right then by enjoying a happier, healthier celebration, mentally and physically?”

Taking Time to Truly Reconnect

 

Don’t allow yourself to be interrupted constantly by the buzzing of your smartphone or the beeping of any other high-tech gadget. Consider turning off all of your electronics on Thanksgiving Day, and taking time to allow for more personal connections and old fashioned face-to-face contact, if even for a short period of time.

Constantly being plugged in limits the ability to pay attention, and appreciate life’s best moments. It’s also been found to increase stress and lessen creativity. Do yourself and everyone around you a favor this year. Turn everything off, just for one day.

Eating Better

 

Eating lots of unhealthy foods not only contributes to a thicker waistline, but it can turn a tense situation into something worse. Studies have shown unhealthy eating can increase angry, sad or anxious feelings, which is not conducive for a happy Thanksgiving atmosphere, according to Scientific American.

If you’ll be making Thanksgiving dessert this year, keep in mind it’s fairly easy to make a healthier version of traditional treats. For example, in recipes for Kraft Thanksgiving desserts, there are many for which Cool Whip Lite can be used in place of the full-fat version. Other possible substitutions include fat-free milk, reduced-fat graham cracker crumbs, or even fat-free, sugar-free instant pudding. Little changes here and there can all help to create delicious lower-fat desserts.

When dining at a friend or family member’s house, you may not have much of a choice as to the ingredients that go into each dish, but you can make healthier choices. When it comes to turkey, choosing white meat over dark will help you save calories, as well as fat. Try to skip the dinner rolls altogether. For dessert, pumpkin pie is a healthier option than apple or pecan, according to Eating Well Magazine.

Practicing Gratitude Around the Thanksgiving Table

No matter how dysfunctional your family might be, try to give thanks to each person who will be around the Thanksgiving table this year. Notice the good things instead of the bad. Pay sincere compliments, such how skillfully Uncle Joe carves that turkey, or how Cousin Linda’s casserole tastes just like the one grandma made. Finding something to say for each kind gesture a family member or friend makes can go a long way in making the overall experience a much happier and healthier one.

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