Post Thanksgiving Thoughts

It is not happy people who are thankful. It is thankful people who are happy.

For many of us, Thanksgiving is one of the few times during the year where life slows down and we pause to cherish the day. We spend considerable time cooking and sharing a special meal and sincerely talking with and listening to those we love. We treasure this time with our family, feel thankful for our friends, and experience deep and heartfelt gratitude for all that we have. Then, the next day, we take an immediate turn into Black Friday. The swift progression from Thanksgiving to Black Friday can feel like an abrupt change from “being present” to “buying presents.” 

“Being present” is a concept deeply rooted in Yogic Philosophy. Although its definition is subject to interpretation, most would agree that it means being keenly aware of your body, calm in your mind, conscious of your feelings, and perhaps even in touch with your spirit. Being present is what we experience when we are truly at peace and living in the moment. When practicing yoga, we stay present by focusing all our attention on the pose at hand. Consequently, all other thoughts are quieted, and we enter a meditative state. 

Yoga philosophy suggests that we strive to be present at all times, not just on holidays, by habitually cultivating mindfulness, thankfulness, and gratitude. View every day as a blessing, each moment as unique, each breath a gift. Even when times are hard, seek out the beauty. In so doing, something remarkable will happen; you will be happier. I don’t just say this as an armchair psychologist. There is scientific evidence that those people who live their lives bathed in gratitude are, in fact, happier. This world view, this simple alteration in perspective, can be the difference between being happy or sad, and living a meaningful life or feeling empty. Happiness does not have to be something you wait for, it is a choice. You can choose to be present in all moments, choose to be mindful, choose to be grateful and thankful for all the good things in your life, and thereby propagate happiness.

Clearly it is impractical to make every day Thanksgiving, but you can take some Thanksgiving spirit with you throughout the year. Cook a special meal for your family and friends more often. Talk less and listen more. Carve out time to unplug and relax. On behalf the entire Harmony Yoga Staff, best wishes this holiday season. May you find beauty in life, peace of mind, and an attitude of thankfulness and gratitude that will bring you happiness today and always.

Written by: Susan Laskoff

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