Episode #006: The Thanksgiving Episode [podcast]

Our brain is wired to quickly and strongly store negative memories. We must be intentional about storing the positive ones. In this episode we explore three ways to develop an attitude of gratitude. 

(c) Marek/DollarPhotoClub

(c) Marek/DollarPhotoClub

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On Today's Episode

Rhythm of Life – Who’s at the Table?

Tune-Up Tip – It Isn’t the Turkey That Makes You Sleepy

Random Riffs – The Thanksgiving Football Game

Feature Segment – Developing an Attitude of Gratitude


Rhythm of Life – Who’s at the Table?

Our family had a tradition of inviting different people to Thanksgiving every year.   My husband and I adopted that practice on Christmas Eve.

My life has been greatly enriched by the people who have celebrated holidays with my family.

Who’s at YOUR table? When was the last time you really connected with your own family? Can you find a way to connect more deeply this Thanksgiving? We often don’t realize how much we cherish our loved ones until they are gone.

Can you think of anyone who may be alone, grieving, worn out, or just could use a change of scene? Invite them to join you. Make new memories.


Tune-up Tip – It Isn’t the Turkey That Makes You Sleepy

The average American Thanksgiving dinner is loaded with calories, carbs, and fat.   There are ways to celebrate in style and still eat healthy.

Worst Offenders

Original Substitution
Sweet Potatoes with marshmallows ½ baked sweet potato
Pecan Pie Pumpkin pudding with toasted pecans
Apple Pie Sliced sautéed apples
Stuffing Smaller portion
Mashed Potatoes Mashed Cauliflower
Green Bean Casserole Asparagus

Other substitutions:  reduce portion of turkey, gravy, cranberry

Nutritional Comparison

Type Old New No wine, pecans
Calories 3,157 1,120 810
Fat 124g 50g 31g
Carbs 389g 80g 73g

Take out the wine and pecans and the count reduces still more.

Can’t do it all? Decide what you can change and still have it feel like a holiday.


Random Riffs – The Annual Football Game

I remember the “fun” of playing in the pep band for the Thanksgiving Day football game.

  • 59-0 loss
  • Fingers sticking to the keys
  • Lips frozen to the mouthpiece

We don’t often test our physical limits. It’s good to do that every once in a while.

It’s good to have memories to share with old friends, especially when there is laughter involved.


Feature Segment – How to Develop an Attitude of Gratitude

If you think the negative memories are stronger than the positive, you’re not alone. Neuroscience has studied how memories are stored in the brain, and found that your brain is more likely to recall negative memories. Here’s why.

There are two types of memories:

  • Explicit – remembering specific things
  • Implicit – emotional memory. Interpretation as negative is instantaneous, takes only a split second. Recognition of a positive memory takes 5-20 seconds.

Our behavior contributes to negativity as well.

Three ways to have an attitude of gratitude:

  1. Focus on the good
  2. Coach yourself
  3. Be Fully Present

 Three simple and powerful exercises you can do to cultivate gratitude

3 Good Things

Keep pad and pen or phone handy. Write a list of 3 good things that happened today. Doesn’t have to be profound or complicated. Does have to be very specific.

Positive Experience Journal

Write for 20 minutes about an experience that was positive. The description should involve as many senses as possible. What you heard, saw, felt, tasted, smelled.

 Blessings Journal

Every day write down 5 things you are grateful for. Unlike 3 good things, it doesn’t have to be a good thing that happened today, although it could be. It could also be something that you appreciated anew.  An example of this practice demonstrated is the “1000 Gifts” Web Site.  On that site is a tab called “Share Your Gifts”.  People post what they consider to be gifts, or blessings.

Choose one of these and practice it daily for 3 weeks.

Attitude matters.

  • Attitude/belief affects behavior.
  • Behavior affects relationships
  • Behavior affects outcomes.

What are you most grateful for right now?  To share, please click here.



Analyze ingredients for nutritional content: Nutrition Data

Analyze recipes for nutritional content: SparkPeople

The Happiness Advantage – Shawn Achor

The Positive Dog – Jon Gordon

The Happiness Project – Gretchen Reubin

Hardwiring Happiness – Rick Hanson

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

  • Ann Thompson

    I am grateful for a warm roof over my head, and friends and family that make sure I continue to do so.
    There are so many people, as I walk around Boston, who are living on the street. I don’t know how they survive, and why many of them refuse to come inside from the elements. Perhaps for many it’s because they don’t have the support system that I’m blessed with. I wish for them the compassion of others to see them as human and in need, and to help pick them up rather than just walking by; and for them to trust enough to allow the help.

    • Thank you, Ann. Warm shelter is something we so often take for granted.

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