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Happy Thanksgiving everyone! I hope you all enjoy your time with friends and family, and get your share of wonderful food and good company. Here are 10 things to do to make your holiday even more enjoyable!!


1. Wake up each morning and smile! Let that be the very first thing you do, before you read your email, or wake the kids. Smile. Make the start of your day a positive one.

2. Drink lots of water! Make sure you drink about 1 liter of water for every 50 pounds of body weight. This will help you feel good, and will aid your body in digesting all the food it isn’t used to!

3. Get at least 30 minutes of brisk exercise each day. It can be walking, running. I dare you to skip around the neighborhood!!!

4. Returning home, or spending time with family, can be a real treat. It can also bring up old difficult feelings. Remember to breathe, let things go, protect yourself energetically by imagining a shield or bubble of golden light surrounding you. And remember that the fastest way to dissolve conflict is with love and light. It’s easy to fight and blame, but more rewarding to find compassion, for yourself and your family.

5. Meditate! Take just 10-20 minutes, sit, follow your exhale, notice when you get distracted, label that “thinking” with compassion for yourself, and return to your exhale. Remember, the goal of meditation is not an empty mind, that is a side-effect. The goal is to get distracted, notice you are distracted, and return to your breath.

6. Really be thankful this year! Truly, seriously, what are you thankful for. In our family, we have a tradition of going around the dinner table on this holiday, and we each take a turn sharing what we are thankful for. I can never get through it without crying! It’s a wonderful tradition for us!

7. Do something active on Thanksgiving. Try taking the family on a walk, or a nearby hike, play some football! Get everyone out of the house, do something physical. Move your bodies. We know one family in our circle of friends who spend 30 minutes each Thanksgiving doing yoga together!! What a wonderful idea!2009 christmas doggies 007

8. Be careful with your animals! During the holidays, animals can get distressed. Their routine changes, suddenly the house is filled with other people, and sometimes they get these new and exciting food opportunities. Keep things as calm for them as possible, keep their exercise and eating routines the same. Remind your guests to not feed them extra food.

9. Do what makes you happy! If you notice that you are often left at the end of a holiday feeling empty, sad, unfulfilled, please make sure you get to do, say, feel, what you want to. Don’t spend the entire time pleasing everyone else.

10. Make the holiday spiritual. Thanksgiving is a time when we are grateful for the bounty of our lives, of the Earth. Celebrate friends, family, animals, nature, plants, the universe! Make a ritual with your family. On our Thanksgiving day hike, we like to do a ritual where we honor and celebrate the four directions and the four elements. Find a way to bring a spiritual element into your celebration!

Happy Holidays Everyone!


Chris Tickner, MFT (at Tree of Life Healing) is a Pasadena psychotherapistchild therapist, and clinical supervisor practicing holistic psychotherapy, combining mindfulness psychotherapysomatic psychotherapyneuroscience, and good old fashion humor and compassion to form a powerful treatment that is transformative and holistic. At Tree of Life Healing, Pasadena’s Holistic and Alternative Healing Resource, we provide an array of treatment approaches including Somatic Psychology, Jungian Psychotherapy, group therapyHakomi PsychotherapyReiki Energy TherapyShamanic Healing,Intuitive Counseling, and more.



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