Avoiding holiday stress and emotional eating: noticing and gratitude

This busy season, I’m sharing simple tips for staying in touch with the spirit of the holidays and avoiding overwhelm, stress, and emotional eating. Create these habits and routines now, and you’ll also be building a strong foundation for your year ahead.

Noticing and gratitude

It’s an incredibly powerful thing to be seen and acknowledged. Having someone look into your eyes and acknowledge your accomplishments, your efforts, and your intentions (and receiving it) is true food for your spirit.

Close your eyes and imagine someone you respect telling you that they see the effort you make.

They might say:

“I see how brave you are.”

“I see how hard you work.”

“I notice the effort you make to create traditions.”

Most of us, most of the time, are trying. We are doing our best. Often, we’re creating amazing results. Unfortunately, during times of stress or increased demands, it’s easy to get focused on what’s “undone” or less-than-perfect rather than what’s been accomplished.

We have this tendency both with others, and with ourselves. Focusing on the undone may be something our ancestors needed for survival, but it doesn’t always serve us well. It can be exhausting, it can be demotivating, it robs us of joy and of noticing our accomplishments, and, of course, it can lead to emotional eating and overeating.

Today’s habit-building challenge to avoid holiday stress and emotional eating: notice and share gratitude

The challenge today is to notice the positive and share your gratitude toward someone else – at least three times a day. It doesn’t have to be something major. Simply acknowledge their efforts or their intentions.

“I notice that you set the table and I appreciate it.”
“I noticed how hard you were working not to let her frustrate you.”
“I notice how you always keep your car spotless. It must take a lot of effort.”
“I notice you were really frustrated with those Christmas lights but you kept going anyway and now they are up and they look great.”
“I notice that in spite of how busy you are, you made my email a priority and it really helped me out.”

I think you will be amazed at how far a little noticing goes. When you acknowledge someone, the impact reverberates. It’s contagious. It lightens the mood and creates a focus on the positive and on possibility. It absolutely reduces stress.

Noticing and receiving gratitude

This part of the challenge might be more difficult, but you deserve some noticing and gratitude too. Taking note of the things you feel good about builds happiness and motivation.

Your challenge is to notice (and write down) three things that you notice and feel good about, about yourself each day.

Both parts of the challenge are important. Giving and receiving are both nourishing.


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