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Ep. 104 Give Thanks

by Claudine Sweeney
November 24th 2021

'Tis the season! Its Thanksgiving and it's the time to remember what we are grateful for. It usually, however, ends up being the beginning of all the holiday hustle and bustle. In today's episode w... More

this is episode 104 giving thanks, you're listening to the Rise up and Shine podcast with Claudine and Ashley as an empty nester and a mom with young kids, we have both shared very similar and very real struggles from chaos to coaches. We now help other women live an authentic and meaningful life. So tune in weekly for girl talk and tips on how you too can rise up and let your light shine bright. This is the Rise up and shine podcast. Yeah. Mhm cobble cobble. I surprised you did not, you did, I didn't see that coming, that one coming, you got it, it's a little icebreaker to get us started today. Hi ladies, welcome back for another episode here. Well if you could have guessed tomorrow is thanksgiving, I'm excited. Are you excited? I'm very excited. I have all my kids here so and Grandkids felt very, very excited.

Oh that's a fun time. So today we wanted to talk about giving thanks and we have talked about gratitude in the past but we want to talk about giving thanks and the importance of it in our life and our well being, we forget that when we have a heart of gratitude, how it actually affects us in our bodies and our emotions and our life. So today we're going to talk about this and I first want to say does it seem like thanksgiving has become the forgotten holiday? Yes, I already have friends that just skipped right over thanksgiving decorating and went straight to christmas like, Like I think on November one or even before that it's a little weird like I love decorating for thanksgiving but they skipped it altogether and went straight to christmas decor trees like it was for Halloween like the week of Halloween it was already christmas stuff coming out. I thought wait wait what what year is it, what month is it? I I know yeah right I have a hard enough time remembering what day what month we're in and then yeah christmas stuff was out.

Gosh I want to say even in september at the stores but I literally have friends that are like yeah I put my tree up I put my lights up showing me pictures, I'm like we're not even at thanksgiving yet. It was so funny and they laughed. I never decorate for that, I skipped that one. So yes it is becoming the forgotten holiday well and you know what I wonder is I think it's I think we've fallen into the trap of shopping early. Right? So I think people are in that mode. The holiday season. Well not really thanksgiving season, christmas season for months. Um People tend to be more happy around that time of year right because there is just a fun time of year um at the shopping I mean I know people are already doing shopping well you have to because apparently there's all these you know distribution issues and shipping issues so apparently you haven't gotten your gifts now for your family. Good luck to you That's what we're being told, Pinterest you can make your gifts is yeah, I don't think that works as well with my adult Children.

My adult Children are not looking from for homemade gifts from mom but maybe your nine year old and 10 year old so they probably don't really appreciate it either. I knit you some socks kids. Okay. Anyway, so we're going you can you do you have some fun facts about thanksgiving? Let's talk about our forgotten holiday. I did, I honestly going before Halloween after Halloween going into target and seeing all the christmas stuff. I kind of felt sad. I felt like we're leaving november out and thanksgiving. So but anyways I was already researching more to get an understanding and knowledge of thanksgiving. The first thanksgiving. Right? And you know the pilgrims who came over obviously they injured this harsh winter and a lot of them passed and a lot of the women died. So there is record that there might have only been like three or four married women and so who tends to do all the cooking? Right. Right, that's a big party to host. So if you're concerned about your thanksgiving gathering, imagine what they must have gone through and they have modern conveniences like an oven, a microwave, a kitchenaid mixer.

So but I learned a lot about the food they had, I learned like how did the pilgrims and the native americans even meet, like how did that transpire? And so but what was really interesting and I thought this is such a great reason to give things and just to remember that gratitude is because two completely different groups of people coming together and working together and really supporting each other, right? And so the native americans were helping them and even like I looked up squanto because I was watching this tv show them who's going to play in this place Quanta and I'm like yeah that never came up in my research who is Quanta, he was the translator, but the native americans would bring certain things to, you know that they grew and that would hunt for or fish and they had different types of food that they brought and then the pilgrims would make things that they would grow um and what they would make and so and it was just this big party basically right? And they were unified and I thought that was really cool because we don't always give thanks for our unity and just being in in community with each other, you know, and that's one of the big things about getting together for thanksgiving.

Well that could be a whole another topic, but a lot of get togethers over the holidays with family are not filled with you, but we're not talking about that today, we're going to talk about the gratitude part of it, but that could be another episode because there's a lot of conflict over the holidays for some people. I'll just say I'll kind of close out my little uh huh soapbox with this, is that? So the woman who wrote mary had a little lamb was a huge contributor to making it a national holiday. So she campaigned, I forget her name, her name is Sarah, but she seems like a quite a remarkable woman. Um she She campaigned, you know, and Lincoln finally approved of making this a national holiday for like the 4th Thursday of the month um of november. And so I thought that was really interesting. Yeah. Anyways, well it is a great holiday. I love it because one I love to eat. I'm so looking for me to I've already worked on my menu, I'm so excited. That's why I've been running. Yeah, I think I got the trainer five weeks before thanksgiving.

So um but I love being with all my family obviously and luckily this thanksgiving the kids are all here in the grandkids. So that is a blessing and so much to be thankful for. But giving thanks has so many benefits, like you mentioned earlier, mentally, physically, emotionally. Um studies have shown that when we give thanks we express gratitude, it reduces stress big and small. So you might be stressed cooking your thanksgiving meal. But if you're giving thanks while you're doing it, you're going to negate that stress. So we'll do that. It improves sleep when you're grateful when you're giving thanks that improves sleep. And some of us over 50 can certainly use that. There was a study in 2003 that showed that 16% in the study had fewer pain symptoms when they wrote in a gratitude journal. I thought that was interesting. It actually um lessons your pain, your reaction to physical pain. I thought that was interesting and probably most likely they think because you're hitting your dopamine centers, your reward centers, it also giving thanks blocks negative emotions and strengthens positive emotions.

And we certainly would like a lot more of those right? Actually, when our family gathering. Yes. For some because it can be stressful. Yes, I'm going to have a houseful. I have a house full of people or making differing opinions that seems to come up at family gatherings. Let's all talk about our opinions. What's going on out there in the world. That can be tough. But when you're expressing gratitude within your family, it improves the relationships. It lowers defensiveness and increases positivity. So if you have family coming over that maybe you are concerned about some conflict or dishing, it may be ahead of time. Just think of three or four things that you're really grateful for that person because it will help lower your defensive defensiveness and increased positivity. Who knew. Um but when we do write down a gratitude list or express it, it does release dopamine and serotonin and those are incredibly important neurotransmitters that can help people that struggle with anxiety and depression, it's really hard to be depressed or anxious when you're grateful, those two just don't go side by side.

If you're feeling all this gratitude, you will not feel anxious or depressed. So it's really important to see how much good that gratitude can do and we think, oh yeah, I'm grateful, I'm grateful, but it's not just saying I'm grateful, it's actually going through the process of expressing it out loud or journaling or writing it down, that's what really doesn't. And it's a, it's a habit it can become, it's not like, oh, I'm just going to say one or two things that I'm grateful for and then I should magically feel grateful. You have to keep at it and keep practicing it and make it a daily habit, because then you will start feeling grateful. Yeah, right? Like we talked about even in our last episode about our intellect and our heart, right, we might think something to be true or know something to be true in our mind, but if we don't feel it in our heart, then we're going to live from that place, but if we want to feel gratitude, then we need to keep rewiring that brain and those neural pathways to condition ourselves, to feel more gratitude to actually believe those things, we have to strengthen our gratitude muscle now there really isn't one, but that's basically what you think about it.

Yeah, gratitude muscle the more you use it, the more it grows. I'm learning that from my training, there's a sign on the wall of the gym and it says muscles use them or lose them. And I'm like, yeah, I wish someone had told me that like 20 years ago because I think I've lost most of mine and um, it's been a painful but beneficial journey building back these muscles. It's not easy. Are you grateful for it? You know, I am grateful. But I'm telling you the first couple weeks were hard because I was feeling it was highly, I mean, you saw me the first week I couldn't even walk up your stairs. I'm like out out, sitting down. I'm like, okay, I think I've lost all my muscles. So same thing with gratitude. I mean, we have to build it up where it becomes natural. I wish we could go the gym one time, work out one time and I'd have sleek and slender biceps. It just doesn't work that way. And some with gratitude. Right? It's not like we write one thank you card and all of a sudden we're feeling all these great things. You're right. We have to strengthen a lot attitude. Thank you cards.

Out of obligation. Yeah, well that's different. So grateful for you. Yeah. You know, it's a funny story. One of my friends and it became a thing now I usually do every year for her birthday. I didn't have any birthday cards and I ran at a time. So I gave her a thank you card, thank you for being my friends and I've done that too. How many other listeners have done that? I have totally done that has to be a pretty good friend, not the neighbor that you just met. No, no, so now I do it, I love has become a joke, but you know, yeah, but you're right, I mean flexing that gratitude muscle, it takes time to build it up. And I was thinking even just with the holidays coming and thanksgiving, we're now in the hustle and bustle, oh my gosh, I need to start doing christmas shopping or I need to figure out where I'm going to buy all the food, whose house are we going to? What is the plan, what everybody's schedule look like, all that stuff. We're already in the to do list and I was thinking of like, oh we're entering the season of mary and Martha, right? I mean you think about the story of mary and Martha, well one is in the kitchen and that's doing all this stuff and jesus, you need to talk to her because she's just hanging out, just being with you, like I need her to be in here in the kitchen helping, right, and what does jesus say she's doing the better thing, which is hanging out with jesus, so that's a great plug right now, don't forget jesus, I mean especially coming onto christmas, he is the reason for the season and you're so right, but I'll tell you, I came up with a brilliant idea and I talked to my Children about it before, so they were on board but they're going to be here for about a week total.

So I was like, I am not cooking two meals a day for a whole bunch of people. So everyone was assigned to night, everyone has a night every couple of the two boys, my two sons will do it together, but everyone has a night and then for thanksgiving will probably tomorrow we'll each getting do one thing like, okay, you're responsible for the green bean casserole and your response because I want to enjoy it too and I don't want to be the only one. And they were just here recently. Yeah, they were here recently and my husband, I were doing all the work and we're like, wait, they're adults, like we gotta do this differently next time. So and they're great, they're all good cooks and they're all fine and you just needed to communicate, yeah, I need to communicate but I didn't think about it the last time until I was doing it and I'm like wait, this is not working out for me, I got to the kitchen, don't we? It's because it's not usually out of obligation, but usually out of the heart to do it, but then we forget, oh my gosh, it's overwhelming, but then when the next year rolls around, we do the exact same behavior like we take it all on and then we're overwhelmed or like I'm not doing that.

Yeah, so I got this brilliant idea, I got this brilliant idea weeks ago, weeks before thanksgiving. So yeah, so everyone is going to take a turn for a night and then I think one night we'll just do take out, so it works out that, you know, I'm here tonight to cook your, you know, counting thanksgiving is my main night, but when my night is, I'll probably go to Costco and pick up something, but it's really important during this season that you know, remember to give thanks, remember to be grateful, we know that it's going to be busy, we know that we know going into it. So let's try to protect ourselves from getting into the same habits, right? We build up these patterns and these habits and we do it all the time. I remember for my daughter's birthday she has her birthday in december, right week before christmas, week and a half before christmas and we throw this nice party and back then when I was a perfectionist and had to be perfect with all the things, but then christmas comes around, so I'm trying to do christmas shopping, my daughter's birthday and christmas and it was really overwhelming and I at the end of it, especially the birthday party, I'm like, gosh, I didn't even enjoy the birthday party.

I was just do do do and you know, and but then the next year would roll around and I just would do the same thing because it was my nature, my habit, right? And so finally it got to a point where I was really aware, I'm like, okay, something needs changed, let's do this a little different. I could, if I want a different outcome, right, do something different. You can't expect different results if you don't do something different. We all heard that. So really, really going into, you know how the season gets, you know that it's busy even if you're going to be with your family, you know how your family is and so choose differently. One thing that really helps me, especially with being with family is what is one thing I can do to serve, how can I serve and contribute to the dinner to the cleaning, what can I do, especially if you're going to someone else's house and really great thing to when that comes out of a grateful heart. I mean I think we serve others when we're grateful, at least for me my primary motivation probably to serve others is that a gratitude, whether it's gratitude for God and christ and all that they've done for me or gratitude for that person and I want to serve and that's a great place to serve promise from a place of gratitude.

And here's another thing. Tell me, uh, you can get your kids involved in this too. Right. So Hey, I'll tell my kids when we go to a dinner, Ask if there is something you can do to help, right. That's a very good thing to do. So my kids are nine and 10. So even if your kids are a little bit younger, there's something they can do, help set the table or put the forks out or the Napkins, whatever it may be. Um, and then help clean up after themselves, right? And help say something encouraging to the host. You know, Hey, I really appreciate it. This or whatever it may have been or oh, I really liked the turkey was really yummy year. Get your kids involved, Tell them to share what they're thankful about what the host of the family man. Great idea. I think to, for me, I look at this season and I actually have a kitchen. So instead of being overwhelmed, I'm so grateful. Last year, we were down at our house in LA with no tools whatsoever. And two years before that we were in a hotel in ventura and made thanksgiving dinner using a microwave and a coffee pot. Seriously.

So that was interesting basically. I think I got everything from trader joe's and it was all microwavable. My daughter lived nearby. So she and her husband brought one side dish, but that was fun too. I got paper plates. I decorated our hotel room. We used the desk. You know how they have these high desk, sometimes it was on wheels. So we moved in here. It was fun. But I look back at it and it was not the ideal thanksgiving and last year was not ideal. But every year I've been just so thankful that we are with our kids. And this year we have a really, I have a really nice kitchen, which I'm very thankful for the big countertop, big island. So there's so many things to be thankful for. All my kids are here. I have my own house. Finally, I have a kitchen. I have hangers. I've talked about that before. You do not know how grateful you will be for hangers until you don't have them for like eight months and then you're just so excited to be able to hang your clothes up on hangers. So I have a lot to be thankful for. And we have some tips to share with you today to get you into the thankful mood. The grateful mood in case you need a little help.

Thank you. Claudine. Do you need a little help? You got it. You're thankful. So, um, one of the first things is to journal. It's great to keep a list. Again. We've talked about all the benefits of gratitude and giving thanks and what it does for our bodies and our minds and our hearts and journaling is a great way to do that. I know you and I both have prompts on our website, Mind over chaos dot com and Claudine Sweeney dot com. That will have gratitude prompts till the end of the year, which is a great resource. Another one is write a thank you note to someone. Maybe a thank you note from your past. Not one of those obligatory ones that you were speaking about earlier, but maybe somebody did something or said something to you and you just never um expressed that gratitude for that can be from long ago to hey, I just, I mean, I, I don't know how to get in touch with my fifth grade teacher, but I think she had such an impact on my life. I would have loved to have written her a thank you note. Just thanking her for the way she loved me and believed in me when I was nine.

You know, it was so impactful. But apparently yeah, so we can also express appreciation to our Children. I've been trying to absolutely for my kids. Thank you for cleaning up your dish. Even if it's something that's expected, we forget to do that. But hey, thank you for doing that. I really appreciate that. I didn't even have to ask you and you went ahead and did it and ironically they'll do it more. They will know what they do and our husbands, how often are we being thankful for them? We can take it for granted. I mean really express your thanks to each family member and that's something we've done this before in the past to where you take out however many people are in your family piece of paper and write their name at the top. Now I've done this where I made it kind of fancy, I printed it out, had a nice font, you know, so my name, Claudine would be in a nice spot and then everyone passes the paper around and they have to write what they're thankful for about that person or what they appreciate about that person. Yes, that's a great thing. Are you doing that tomorrow for thanksgiving?

Yes, we're going to do that because I think it's such a great way one. It helps. It's always wonderful to be encouraged by your loved ones and secondly, the person, the people that we have to encourage, like we're doing the encouraging. It's good for us to practice giving that thanks and expressing our gratitude for them so I can find something always feels like a stress, Always something. Yes, and make a game out of it. Like, appreciate uncle bob is really annoying, but I'm going to find one thing about maybe uncle bob wears the coolest sock down on the list, Was it? What? No, I'm thinking, I'm saying like if you're having a hard time finding something to give thanks for, see that's what I feel like uncle bob is annoying, but I'm going to write something encouraging and maybe uncle bob wears the coolest socks on the planet. I don't know everyone has at least one quality that we can give thanks for. That's true. Bad. Yeah, you probably don't want to say that.

That wouldn't be very encouraging. But yeah, but it's so important. And then the last thing that I saw was this game called the gratitude game, which I thought would be fun, but I didn't order in time so I don't think we'll be playing that tomorrow, but good idea for next year. Yes, the gratitude game. So there's all kinds of ways prompts, journals, thank you, cards, encouragement sheets, you name it, you can get creative. You probably have more creative ones than I do out there. But well that is what I am putting together cloudy on my website. I'm going to have a place where you can sign up and in the email I'm going to shoot you out. We'll have some activities, some ideas to do to show gratitude. Give thanks to celebrate. Thanksgiving. Let's remember thanksgiving because then we're going to not forget have more positive emotions and less negative emotions and really the scriptures call us. I love this one in colossians 42. It says pray diligently stay alert with your eyes wide open in gratitude.

I love that are your eyes wide open and gratitude. What a way to go through life. I mean it's such a much more peaceful, joyful loving way to go through life with eyes wide open and gratitude. So family will appreciate to you'll be a little bit more enjoyable to be around my great and you're going to feel better. You're going to live better and you're going to love better. It affects all facets of life. It does amazing what gratitude does. Yes. So well, I hope you actually have a wonderful time tomorrow with your family. I know I'm going to be having a wonderful time with my family. So we want to wish you all of our listeners are very, very happy thanksgiving and we are truly grateful for each one of you, Each one of you that listens and is here and shows up and we appreciate your comments, your suggestions and your reviews. We are very grateful until next time. Mm Alright everyone, thank you for joining in on our conversation today.

Here on the rice I've been shined podcast. If you haven't already, please take a second to hit that subscribe button So you never miss an episode and while you're at it, share this episode with a friend who you know it can bless today if you want to visit us as well on our websites, you can catch Claudine over at Clotting Sweeney dot com and Ashley at mind over chaos dot com. Our links are in the description. We also have some free resources there for you as well. So remember, ladies, no matter what you are facing in life, it is never too late to rise up and shine and live your best life. Yeah, yeah.

Ep. 104 Give Thanks
Ep. 104 Give Thanks
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