This is the time of year when the topic of food moves to the front burner.
- The morning shows bring in celebrity chefs and “health experts” that tell you to eat more “heart-healthy” margarine instead of butter on your biscuits. As if.
- The fitness and glamour magazines talk about how you can lose that holiday fat in just six weeks with their new and improved tips.
- And all the health and wellness blogs screech about how the Standard American Diet is killing us slowly. (OK, I’m as guilty of that as the next blog.)
There’s a time for all that — and certainly, each and every one of us needs to take responsibility for protecting our own health — but this week, I want to encourage you.
After all, the holidays are upon us.
We’re Hurting When We Should Be Happy
This is supposed to be a joyful time, but too many of us are tired, hurting, stressed out, and feeling lost. This has been a hard year:
- The election season was toxic for our health on so many levels.
- So many people I know have lost loved ones this year.
- Even with a booming economy, many are entering the holidays without the means to give gifts like they would like to give. That can be heart-breaking, especially for a parent. Ask me how I know.
- People are feeling wounded, demoralized, brittle, and unsure of themselves.
With all that heaviness around us, the last thing I want to do is shame you for enjoying your favorite Thanksgiving foods. They call it “comfort food” for a reason, and if you need a little extra comfort this week, far be it from me to take it away from you. I’ll hammer you about your eating habits again next week. 😉
So this week, let’s approach wellness from another angle.
Wellness Has Many Faces
As I’ve often said here, wellness is a multi-faceted issue. You can eat a perfect organic diet every single day, do high-intensity interval training every morning, and still not be living in wellness. How could that happen? If you live in anxiety, insomnia, bad relationships, or poverty, you’re not experiencing wellness. All these things are directly or indirectly related to your health. A lack of wellness in one area drags down your wellness in every area.
I think of wellness like the gauges of an airliner’s dashboard. Every aspect of your life – from your magnesium level to your prayer life to your bank accounts – has ups and downs. Each one has an impact on your overall wellness.
Now, I want to speak a Thanksgiving Blessing over you.
Imagine A Great Thanksgiving
Imagine we’re sitting down to a huge Thanksgiving banquet with all your friends and family. Visualize the crystal goblets and the ceramic plates at each setting. Let’s have some nice linen napkins and a satin table runner, too. In the center of the table, between the white candles in their crystal candlesticks, is a steaming, golden-brown, rosemary-encrusted turkey (organic, pasture-raised, and humanely treated…sorry, had to put that in there).
Imagine heaping bowls of your favorite vegetables and side dishes spread across the table:
- You want sweet potatoes? Have it.
- Pumpkin pie? Done.
- Sautéed green beans with mushrooms and fried onions? You’re on!*
Surrounded By Loved Ones
Now imagine who you would most like to have seated on your right and left. It can be anyone, living or dead, but it should be someone with whom you have had a relationship. In your imagination, take their hands.
(For bonus points, imagine it is someone with whom you have never had a chance to reconcile a past hurt. Take a moment to forgive them and receive forgiveness. This article will show you how.)
Feel the dopamine and oxytocin flow through your body as you enjoy the camaraderie of loved ones around the table. This is your neurotransmitters signaling wellness.
Speak a prayer over each of your neighbors. What would you ask The Almighty to do for them in the coming year?
A Toast…To You
Now, it’s time for a toast. Let’s raise a cup of Chardonnay together. After all, a little wine is one of the Blue Zones Power 9. I’ll do the honors for now:
I’d like to thank you all for joining me today – my patients, my readers, my friends, colleagues, and family. For all its challenges, this has been a good year. Although there are empty seats where loved ones should be, we who are gathered here are blessed to be together today, and we remember them with peace.
We have brought encouragement to the people around us, and shared knowledge that would help them achieve their best health and walk in wellness in every area of their lives. You were a part of that mission, and for that I am grateful.
You are important to me, not because of what you have done for me, which I appreciate, but because you are in my life for a reason. You have given me hope and courage when it was hard to find. Even when you didn’t realize you were doing it, and I am the better for it. I pray that I have contributed something meaningful to your life as well.
2019 is going to be our best year yet, as individuals and as a collective – people whose paths have crossed to enhance each others’ journeys and leave the world better than we found it.
So, today, I offer up these blessings:
- May your mind and heart be filled with wisdom, knowledge, and creativity.
- May you enjoy wellness in your bones, joints, and muscles.
- May you enjoy wellness in your organs and life systems.
- May you enjoy wellness in your marriage, parenting, friendships, and influence.
- May you enjoy wellness in your career and favor in your community.
- May you enjoy wellness in your finances, investments, and wealth.
- May you enjoy wellness in your fun and recreation.
- May you enjoy safety and protection everywhere you go.
- May you enjoy wellness in your walk with a loving God.
That’s what I call wellness in every area.
I probably need to offer the disclaimer. If you have diabetes, heart disease, or inflammation in any part of your body, you shouldn’t violate any of the guidelines your other doctors or nutritionists have given you, even during Thanksgiving. Having said that, make an appointment at my office, and let’s see what we can do to teach your body to heal itself.
Wherever you live, and wherever your holiday travels take you, I for pray safety for you and your loved ones. And if you know someone who could use a word of encouragement and blessing this holiday season, I hope you’ll take a few seconds to share this on your favorite social media channel.
“At the end of your FEELINGS is NOTHING. At the end of your PRINCIPLES is a PROMISE.” — Eric Thomas