How To Have A Mindful (And Thankful) Thanksgiving

How To Have A Mindful (And Thankful) Thanksgiving


Thanksgiving is a time for giving thanks, offering our gratitudes, and spending time with loved ones. Copious feasts, warm homes, and group laughter describe a Thanksgiving setting. Holidays are meant to be joyfully appreciated. We can get lost in the commotion of holiday planning, conflict and family animosity, or even seasonal libations.

Despite their joyous nature, holidays can be triggering. What triggers us about holidays is unique. While for some the trigger might be an entire family drinking while we do not, for others it might be the noise or anxiety of too many bodies. Triggers are cues that indicate our attachment to something which brings us dis-ease. Instantaneously we no longer feel at peace. Losing sense of our mindfulness practice during the holidays can make them difficult to endure. Especially in the recovery or treatment process for the suffering of attachment to addiction, alcoholism, or other emotional issues, the holidays need to be approached with an open heart. Bringing mindfulness practice to the Thanksgiving dinner table can help us manage these triggers and truly connect to feeling thankfulness.


Notice any attachment to cravings which may come up


Cravings during the holidays can come in different forms. First, the presence of alcohol or recreational drugs like marijuana can set off our physical and psychological cravings. We might find we are desiring of the mind altering sensations which come from the experience of substance use. Second, we might crave to use as a means of escaping anxiety, guilt, or shame. Though our first sober holiday should be a cause for celebration, we might instead attach to the guilt or shame we perceive for having been under the influence at so many other holidays. Noticing this, we find gratitude and thanks for being here, sober, in this present moment.


Eat Your Meal Mindfully


Eating excessive amounts of food is practically commonplace for holiday dinners like Thanksgiving. It is, after all, called a feast. Using food to compensate for uncomfortable emotional experiences will lead to suffering later on by way of a tummy ache, remorse, guilt, or shame. Take time to examine all the food. Notice how many dishes there are, the colors, textures, and smells. Notice your hunger and mindfully evaluate it. Serve yourself what you intuitively feel is enough as opposed to what your attachment to desire (and pumpkin pie) might be telling you.


Give Thanks


Recovery and walking the Buddhist path provides its own cornucopia of things to be grateful for. You’ve worked hard to be able to join your loved ones in a communal meal, clean and sober. Recognize the many gifts in your life that have unfolded and are continuing to be revealed.


Refuge Recovery Center combines proven treatment methods with Buddhist philosophy to provide a spiritually based path for recovery. Humbly offering our services to men and women seeking healing and transformation, our program is open to all those experiencing suffering. For more information on our levels of treatment, call 323-207-0276.

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