Why is gratitude all the rage right now?
Tis the season for thankfulness and that suuuuuuper trendy G word right now – Gratitude. Did you know expressing thanks is one of the easiest ways to feel better? It’s true.
According to Harvard, “In positive psychology research, gratitude is strongly and consistently associated with greater happiness. Gratitude helps people feel more positive emotions, relish good experiences, improve their health, deal with adversity, and build strong relationships.”
This month, I want to (virtually) express gratitude for some very wise and, frankly, hilarious “foodies’” words.
Oftentimes, words and quotes help me cultivate gratitude, so maybe my rendition of the following quotes will help you cultivate your own gratitude.
The following 5 quotes might not have intended to express gratitude towards food or nourishment, but I’m thankful for free speech, so I will explain how I cultivated gratitude for nourishment from them and then provide a way you can too!
“Laughter is brightest where food is best.” – Irish Proverb
This quote inspired me to not only feel thankful for delectable, comforting food, but also reminded me that the true reason I love eating and talking about food all day as a dietitian is due to the people. Very few things brighten my smile and warm my heart quite like sitting around, conversing with my loved ones, and enjoying delicious food. I am so grateful that food can help cultivate friendships and relationships and wonderful memories.
Tip to Enrich your Gratitude: Out loud, tell your surrounding people how thankful you are for them and the meal. Expressing thanks outside of your head helps form positive habits. It encourages you to do this same thing during the next similar experience, and so forth, until it becomes second nature. Not only will this help you create gratitude, it will positively affect and benefit your people as well. And never say “No” to a home cooked meal. Love simply pours right out of it.
“Snack time heals all wounds.” – Bridger Winegar
Snacks save lives. I mean, I couldn’t find much research to prove this, but from experience, it’s 100% true. Especially if I’m hangry, I am thankful when I remember my stash of fun little snacks. They re-energize me when the afternoon slump hits and help ease my hunger in between meals so I can subsequently focus on more important tasks. And I love the endless options nowadays! Did someone say energy bites? No…? OK. I’m getting distracted! Hey friend, let’s go grab a snack and chit chat about life’s pleasures.
Tip to Enrich your Gratitude: Even though most of us have easy access to snacks on hand, not everyone enjoys this privilege. So, the next time you’re hangry and grab a snicky snack, consider all the folks who endure long periods without any food. It will help you humbly rethink how you act and react when the hangry tummy strikes, and will undoubtedly make you more grateful for this privilege.
“Without ice cream there would be darkness and chaos.” – Don Kardong
Need I say more? Ice cream radiates fun and joy and instills a nostalgia for long summer days as a child. It is often a symbol of celebration and positivity in our lives. I am grateful that something as simple as ice cream reminds me of so many wonderful memories. I am grateful my mind allows me to remember the positivity in my life, because that allows me to focus on the good, not always the bad. In a world that is always trying to convince us we’re not enough, our life isn’t enough, our possessions aren’t enough, it is refreshing to recall the bliss of a time when a chocolate dipped cone satisfied all my desires in the world. Now, when I tried to be cool and hold my oreo cookie concretes upside down ten minutes after getting it… those memories of it crashing to the ground…not so positive. But, looking back, I’m grateful for the learning experience.
Tip to Enrich your Gratitude: The next time you are dwelling about the dissatisfaction and negativity in your life, recall some of your joyous, positive memories. And, while you’re at it, smile when you ponder these remarkable memories. Psychology research demonstrates that the literal act of smiling increases production of serotonin, the “happy” hormone, aka, elevating your happiness. There are certainly times to mourn and grieve and just be sad, but I think you’ll be increasingly grateful such a simple skill as smiling can brighten your day and cultivate more gratitude.
“Part of the secret of success in life is to eat what you like and let the food fight it out inside.” – Mark Twain
I could potentially describe a few different viewpoints about this quote. But, I choose to interpret it like this. Be grateful for a body that can innately drive your intuition of food choices if you listen and respond appropriately and consistently. I relate this to the purpose and goals of intuitive eating. Our bodies are insanely intricate ecosystems that perform all the thinking and analyzing for us. They take care of the biological and physiological functions for us, so that we can focus on the abstract humanness part of us. Diet culture muddies this complex relationship and attempts to interfere with the inherent, automatic internal signals and responses of our precious internal systems. Que poor relationships with food and bodies, eating disorders, exercise addiction, and everything in between. To help you appreciate your body and all it does and can do for you, try this.
Tip to Enrich your Gratitude: At the end of the day, thank your body for everything it accomplished or even attempted to do. Really, it possesses the most difficult job of all… keeping us alive each and every day. If that doesn’t deserve a thanks, I’m not sure what does. Take note of your increasing, evolving gratitude for the thing that is and has always been your dearest comrade.
“I always cook with wine. Sometimes I even add it to the food!” – W.C. Fields
Ok, so my discussion of this quote doesn’t actually revolve around expressing gratitude for food, per say, but the quote talks about one of my most favorite “foods” of all, so it still fits, right?! I think so. As I read these words, I am thankful for the concept of sarcasm. Yes, sarcasm, because dry humor entertains and makes me laugh. And, as we’ve all heard, “Laughter is the best medicine.” This concept actually ties into the first quote, I believe. A perfect little gratitude sandwich! It’s fun and stress relieving to laugh at nonsense, to absurdly chuckle at the insanity of our world. Reading this quote, I imagine a sweet old granny marveling her newly aged, 21 year old granddaughter, cookin’ a pot roast, whipping up a cherry pie, and spilling wine on the granite counter tops. Pure joy, bliss, and thankfulness.
Tip to Enrich your Gratitude: Appreciate the carefree, light hearted moments in life. Expectations, pressures, deadlines, and adamant requests fill many of our days. It is important to recognize and appreciate the unbothered, unanxious, happy-go-lucky times even more. There are plenty of cynical, grouchy kermeugens in our workplaces, at our hair salons, in our neighborhoods already. You don’t always need to take life so seriously.
Conclusion, Including Ten Benefits of Gratitude
I hope this short post inspired you cultivate more gratitude (especially towards nourishment) in your own life. Admittedly, I wasn’t always a believer of practicing gratitude. Us humans like to complicate life, sometimes unknowingly.
I skimmed a hundred articles encouraging me to simply identify five things I was thankful for in that moment or to journal about the good aspects of my life, yet I rarely listened. I thought, “How can something seemingly insignificant change my life that much, in the ways I need?” But day after day, as I continued reading and inadvertently learning about cultivating this once nebulous concept of gratitude, as I witnessed others rave and experience paramount life changes, I finally decided it might just have some merit. So I began identifying three to five things I was thankful for each day. Over time, it morphed into deeper journaling and profound connecting, and, thus, better rooted gratitude. Now, I still witness others use gratitude to enhance their lives, aaaaand I get to experience it myself.
Cultivating gratitude has affected my life in numerous monumental ways. In my life, the ten best benefits of gratitude include:
- I am more optimistic, which, I believe, allows me to form better relationships with others.
- I am more connected to myself and my bigger purpose.
- I am kinder, more sincere, and more polite.
- When bad days occur, I don’t dwell and I think of all the good.
- I smile and laugh more and deeper… I really loathe doctor’s offices.
- I remember moments in my life with more joy, more appreciation.
- I don’t have to seek out happiness, it simply resides within me.
- My loved ones hear and feel my gratitude towards them.
- I focus more on the people around me at the dinner table, and less on the nuance of the food.
- I feel more nourished and more satisfied after my meals.
I could continue, but instead, I’ll leave you with one final, summarizing quote.
“I like food. I like eating. And I don’t want to deprive myself of good food.
I thank the creation of flour, sugar, butter, and eggs with all my heart.” – Unknown
Adrien Paczosa is a Registered and Licensed Dietitian practicing in Austin, Texas and the surrounding counties.
She is the owner and founder of I Live Well Nutrition her Dietitian practice which started in 2007 and serves clients in the Austin, Texas area in two locations. Fearless Practitioners, the division of her business that offers training to dietitians and wellness professionals.