What Are You Doing New Year’s Eve?

Dining, dancing and drinking? Or celebrating with a quiet evening at home?

Whatever your mode of welcoming in the New Year may be, consider keeping in mind two things, above all else: patience and gratitude.

How do these two traits factor into a healthy eating and living blog?

It sits right smack dab in the middle of the piece that ties it all together: wellbeing.

Patience comes into play when we reflect on what we accomplished over the past year and focus on everything we didn’t get done. Or the fact that a new year is upon us and yet again, we’ve got those same old resolutions in place to lose that weight or clean up our eating routine…just like last year right around this time.

We allow ourselves to get stuck in the past, in that terrible ‘would’ve, should’ve, could’ve’ game and as a result, prevent ourselves from being in the now.

And while it’s easy to say we’d like to feel more present, it’s certainly easier said than done, as we all have those nagging internal voices tempting us right back to the past or ahead to what may be coming next.

This is where patience, if we allow it to step in, can create all the difference in the world.

So how, exactly, can we add a little bit of patience?

Start by identifying what’s making you impatient; when you identify the specific causes, you’re better able to discover why it’s happening. You can then use strategies to overcome your impatience. The simplest one perhaps is a breathing exercise: take deep, slow breaths, and count to 10. Doing this helps slow your heart rate, relaxes your body, and distances you emotionally from the situation. If you’re feeling really impatient, you might need to do a longer count, or do this several times.[1]

Once you’re feeling calmer, it’s much easier to be in the now and keep the perspective that everything you did or did not do is over and done with and what remains is the now.

And guess what? When you’re calm, focused and present, it’s much easier to stay on top of making sound eating choices, leading to better overall nutrition on a daily basis.

Gratitude plays an equally important role as it significantly affects our state of mind and intentions.

Throughout history, philosophers and religious leaders have extolled gratitude as a virtue integral to health and well being. Now, through a recent movement called positive psychology, mental health professionals are taking a close look at how virtues such as gratitude can benefit our health. And they’re reaping some promising results.

Grateful people, those who perceive gratitude as a permanent trait rather than a temporary state of mind, have an edge on the not so grateful when it comes to health, according to research[2] on gratitude. Grateful people take better care of themselves and engage in more protective health behaviors like regular exercise, a healthy diet, and regular physical examinations.

Of course, this is not to say that when faced with a difficult situation, we should suppress our feelings, not deal with the matter at hand and force ourselves to only think happy thoughts.

It’s all about perspective. Feel your feelings, address them, but do keep in mind that there is always some degree of choice, and reminding yourself of the things you have that you can be grateful for can naturally tip the scales back to a healthy balance.

Be patient, be grateful.

Eat food and move.

And have a very Happy New Year!

[1] “How to Be Patient: Staying Calm Under Pressure.” How to Be Patient. Mind Tools, n.d. Web. 30 Dec. 2015

[2] Feature, Elizabeth HeubeckWebMD. “Boost Your Health With a Dose of Gratitude.” WebMD. WebMD, n.d. Web. 30 Dec. 2015.