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Ep 10a: Simply Grateful

Hosted by: MegaFood | Podcast

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Ep 10a: Simply Grateful

runtime: 36:46

12/14/17

Ep 10a: Simply Grateful

In part one of this two-part series on gratitude, Abigail and Killeen explore simplifying, minimalism, joy, and how each relates to leading your life with a grateful heart.


SHOWNOTES:

Before We Eat: From Farm to Table, by Pat Brisson

The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, by Marie Kondo

Minimalism: The Documentary

Erin’s pick: the 5 Minute Gratitude Journal

Simplifying the selection of your multivitamin!

Here’s how to choose the multivitamin that’s right for you.

 

 


Announcer:  [00:00] The statements in this podcast have not been evaluated by the Food & Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

[00:08] Welcome to Episode 10 of "That Supplement Show." Actually, it's technically Episode 10A. You see, Abigail and Killeen had so much to discuss on today's topic, Gratitude, that they had to break it up into two segments.

[00:20] This first segment is about gratitude for the things in our lives, both the essential and the non essentials. Our hosts will explore simplifying, minimalism, joy, and how each relates to leading your life with a grateful heart. Ah, I'm feeling warm and fuzzy already.

Abigail:  [00:33] Hey, Killeen!

Killeen:  [00:35] Hi, Abigail. Hey, it's been a while since I've seen you. How was your Thanksgiving holiday?

Abigail:  [00:39] It was lovely. We actually did a Friendsgiving this year, which was my first time doing that and hung out with our best friends. Our little girls had a great time. What about you?

Killeen:  [00:48] Oh, that sounds great. I had some friends that used to do that. Sadly, they moved away. But I have an extended family. There was 20 plus people there. A big holiday dinner with a lot of children under the age of five. It was quite a lively time.

[01:09] Actually, because I knew there was a lot of little kids there, I encouraged my two daughters, who are seven and almost nine, to read this lovely little book that I got out of the library.

[01:18] It's called, "Before We Eat, From Farm to Table." Actually, I'm bringing this up because it reminded me of one of our past episodes where we talked about the relationship we have with food. It was episode four, perhaps.

[01:30] Anyway, the first line of the book is this. "As we sit around this table, let's give thanks as we are able, to all the folks we'll never meet, who helped provide this food we eat." Then, it goes on to thank everyone involved with making it possible for our food to find its way onto our plates.

[01:46] It had great rhyming and great illustrations. I'm going to put a link to it in the show notes.

Abigail:  [01:50] I actually want that book, too. That sounds awesome. The episode you mentioned, I loved that episode where we talked about our relationship with food.

[01:59] We segued into gratitude and talked about farmers markets, and being able to meet the people that grow your food and how I like to thank the farmers, at the local farmers market, when I get my lemon balm in the summer.

Killeen:  [02:10] This book is actually absolutely perfect for you. It was really sweet. Enough said, we've had some heavier topics lately. We have covered the epidemic of iron deficiency. We've talked about major label changes initiated by the FDA.

[02:26] Then, most recently, we've talked about why glyphosate residue free is the latest certification to keep an eye out for.

[02:32] Today, we are lightening it up a bit and talking about...

Abigail:  [02:35] gratitude.

Killeen:  [02:36] That's right, as we were hinting. It might seem like today's episode on gratitude is coming out a bit late. It would have been a perfect release in time for Thanksgiving, but we're actually being strategic here.

Abigail:  [02:49] That's right. As our one American holiday each year that focuses on being thankful, we felt like gratitude deserved a post Thanksgiving PR.

Killeen:  [02:56] Yes. Given that it's directly followed by the most consumptive weekend of the entire year, which encompasses both Black Friday, and then that more recently established Cyber Monday, well, we've decided to lead in a sister concept to gratitude. One that can be a precursor to an ultimately thankful heart. I'm talking about simplifying.

[03:16] Speaking in terms of resources, I think gratitude is about balance. It's not about having too little, not having too much, but just the right amount.

[03:25] Part one of these two part series on gratitude is going to deal with the nonliving entities that can bring us thanks or else, leave us void of it.

Abigail:  [03:33] That balance thing you mentioned, that's what's really tricky for a lot of people. It's something that a lot of us are really interested in. As you said, simplifying can mean a lot of things, but I want to start with the most basic, which is really simplifying our surroundings.

[03:46] I know it's true for me, it may be true for you too, Killeen, because I've seen your desk at work and it's very clean and organized. A clean or clear space leads to a clear mind. I can't work if around me is distracted and disorganized or scattered.

[04:00] When I tidy up the space around me, it's like I hit a reset button. That's true for a lot of people, which is why all these books, and blogs, and workshops were designed to help us declutter.

[04:11] A great example of that, it's gained a lot of notoriety over the last couple of years, but it's the book called, "The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up." We'll link to that in the show notes. The basic principle is looking at an object and asking, "Does this bring me joy?"

[04:25] That's a really simple way to approach simplicity and gratitude because we're going to surround ourselves with the things that bring us joy and only the things that bring us joy. It's hard though to get rid of those things. We're kind of programmed to accumulate things.

[04:40] As I've grown up, and got married, and gotten a house, I wanted to feel it with things to prove I was an adult. Now those things, I'm not so fond of them anymore.

Killeen:  [04:49] That's funny that you say it like that because it really does make me think about my first apartment and how exciting it was to put stuff in it. Before, I only had a bedroom and shared it with a roommate, dorm room in college.

[05:03] You're totally right on there. We don't' want to shed those things that feel what they proved something about us, like we really made it in the world. Simplifying does often mean letting go through, which is another reason that it's a catalyst to joy and then leads to gratefulness.

[05:18] I haven't read that book that you mentioned, but exactly a year ago, I did jump on the decluttering bandwagon. This documentary came out probably around the same time that The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up was getting its big push.

[05:32] It was a documentary called "Minimalism," very popular on Netflix, pulled my husband into the living room and said, "Let's watch this together," I think it was right after Christmas. The production itself was quite minimalist. There really wasn't much to it, which was intentional. [laughs] But it was just this very simple concept of, like, "What do we really need?"

[05:55] My husband and I were very inspired and our method to declutter formed rather organically. Everybody has kind of got a different approach to it. For us, it wasn't as much, "Does it bring us joy?" but more, "Have we used this in the last year, or do we plan to use it in the next year?" If the answer was no, it definitely just went into the move along pile.

[06:17] If it was maybe, we didn't get rid of those things right away, but if it was yes, we kept it. We can always change our minds but it's hard once you get rid of something to get it back.

Abigail:  [06:29] Exactly.

Killeen:  [06:30] One of the most valuable sentiments I took away from watching Minimalism was that it can't be forced. I have kids, and to expect them to enthusiastically join our journey of getting rid of all their favorite things isn't realistic or fair.

[06:43] That was crucial to have the reminder, but something we have done as parents, long before this specific endeavor, was to introduce the concept of making space. When one of my kiddos wanted to bring home a new book from a local barn sale, let's say, I encouraged her to counter the acquisition by moving on a book that she'd finished and donating that back to the barn sale.

[07:02] I realized that moving on is definitely a euphemism for never seeing again, but it does work. Letting go is a skill, and my kids have had a better practice now. I can see that their attachment to things is less, by the results of that, and I really do think we all benefit from practicing our ability to release that which no longer serves us.

[07:19] It can be hard, yes, but if you want to get started, start with something easy, like that box of power tools where you don't have an emotional connection with them. Don't start with the box of photos because you're probably just going to set yourself up for failure.

Abigail:  [07:34] I'm not going to start with my books. I know that your daughter did that, but that would hurt my heart. [laughs]

Killeen:  [07:39] We all have those things that we're just not going to let go of, it's true, and for me, that was my high school journals that I couldn't seem to send into the burn pile, and really, they do deserve to be burned, but that is another story. Anyhow, all that old writing was something that I couldn't move along just yet, and so I didn't.

[07:55] I still have that huge box waiting for the day that I'm ready, which might be never. I'm OK with this because I don't think that simplifying needs to include any regrets, as I just said. On the same token, your books make you happy, so they deserve a place in your life.

Abigail:  [08:09] They make me very happy. [laughs] They're everywhere. Have you seen them?

Killeen:  [08:13] We are surrounded.

[08:14] [laughter]

Abigail:  [08:15] Talking about simplifying and surrounding yourself with the things that bring you joy or that you aren't ready to part with yet, I think about that actual act of simplification itself, going through your dressers, your home, your closets, your work space actually cleaning things out and getting rid of things.

[08:31] A lot of times, you're left with a big garbage bag or box full of things that still have lots of life to give, even if you are done with them, and it's really easy to toss those items out, you mentioned your old journals, and putting them in a burn pile.

[08:44] There's some catharsis to that. It can be cathartic to rid your home and toss them in the dumpster, but it's really another opportunity to practice gratitude and appreciation for everything you have and that you are able to then get rid of, because you have so much, and you can pass that good fortune along to somebody else.

Killeen:  [09:00] Yes, but I'm not going to pass those books along to anybody else.

[09:02] [laughter]

Killeen:  [09:03] They still really do deserve to be burned.

[09:05] [laughter]

Killeen:  [09:06] You are right, though, and we have talked about mindfulness before, and this case is no exception. Gratitude makes us more aware of the value of the entities in our lives. Funny enough, gratitude comes easier when we experience or are put in a situation where we can deeply empathize with doing without.

[09:23] I've got an example to use, but first let's just have a quick word from our sponsor.

[09:26] [music]

Announcer:  [09:27] Today's episode was brought to you by Mega Foods doctor formulated multis. Formulated by Dr. Tieraona Low Dog, this line of age and gender multivitamins was designed to get you exactly what you've been missing out on. As for how to choose your multi, see today's show notes. Just visit megafood.com/podcast and look for episode 10A. How is that for simple?

[09:47] [music]

Killeen:  [09:48] As I was saying, gratitude comes easier when we experience doing without. As an example, let's think about the electricity that's in our homes, and to note right now, I'm just addressing those that are privileged enough to have heat and power as the norm because otherwise, this is a bigger, different conversation.

[10:06] Most of us in that grouping, and especially here in New England, have experienced a multiple day power outage at one point or another. Some interesting things happen during that period.

[10:16] For example, we all start to assess just how much food we have in the fridge and how to prevent losing it all. That's a nightmare in itself. Then we start only opening that fridge when it's absolutely essential. We're cautious to preserve the now precious cold air inside of it.

[10:30] In other words, we're actually thinking before we act. During the daylight hours, we manage, and we might try to go flip on light switches and do nothing just out of muscle memory. Once that sun sets and we're still powerless, then we start to feel powerless, don't we?

[10:46] There are also some benefits. Some people will opt to make the experience and opportunity. I remember a friend telling me how wonderful his weekend without power once was, because the whole family played board games by candlelight.

[10:58] Technology was for once unavailable. In turn, he experienced this new found gratitude for being able to spend time with his family on this level that they had really lost to digital distractions.

Abigail:  [11:08] That actually reminds me since we mentioned Thanksgiving at the start of this episode. One of the most memorable Thanksgivings my husband I ever had happened when we were snowed in for three solid days to the point where they couldn't plow us out of our driveway, and we couldn't get out of our driveway.

[11:23] We were stuck in our home, no power, no heat. We had a propane fireplace and a propane stove. We kept all our stuff out on the on the porch. We were able to just heat up what we needed to eat when we needed it, no phones, nothing.

[11:37] We just sat by a fireplace, had a great Thanksgiving meal. It was just the two of us, and it was the most thankful I've ever been during a Thanksgiving.

Killeen:  [11:45] Here, I was just providing a random example. It sounds like it's very apropos though. I think that when we are pushed out of that routine, that's when we stop and look around and really start to cherish certain elements that maybe would have been forgotten otherwise.

[12:00] To keep this power outage analogy going, if you look back to my friend's family nights, playing board games, you would have lost that heightened sense of gratitude for the family time after a while.

[12:12] He would have started yearning for Netflix or his iPad again, because too much of a good thing leaves us feeling thankless. In the end, gratitude comes rushing in when the lights come back on.

[12:21] We suddenly notice the value of our working oven, or we relish that hot water in the shower and then the ability to re plug back in. Let's face it. Unplugging is generally only favored when it's our own choice. That is the world that you and I live in at this moment.

Abigail:  [12:36] You set me up for the perfect segue. Just as in the power outage example, there are moments that give me a means to reflect on what it would be like if I had to live without the resources or all the things that I expect to come home to at the end of every day.

[12:49] I had an interaction with someone recently that really reinforce this for me. I was in the city, paying for my car, and ended up spending time with someone who didn't have access to all those basic human needs that are so easy for us to take it for granted.

[13:03] Something as simple as having a shelter to go home to at night, consistent food in the refrigerator or on the table. I had been feeling anxious and overwhelmed, but when I got home that evening and I walk through my front door, I actually started to cry.

[13:16] I was really overwhelmed by all the things. Not the tangible things that I have but all those intangible things that I have. I have support. I have great family connections. I have the stability that not everybody else has. I felt this immense gratitude, and I reflected on the things that are in my life with a different outlook.

Killeen:  [13:35] That makes sense. Security is what you're mentioning there. That's huge once we recognize that fact of just feeling secure. Nobody really walks around, thinking about that during the day.

[13:47] If you stop and something makes you question, "Do I feel secure?" and the answer is yes, that's a huge thing to be thankful for. We have to be pushed maybe out of our comfort zones, for example, to really start to assess what are those things that matter, and what are those things that we would otherwise take for granted.

[14:06] It's just normal. We're not going to hone in on those things until somebody pushes us to do so.

Abigail:  [14:12] It was enlightening for me for just that reason, because now I find that I'm appreciating everything around me even more several weeks out from this encounter. It was just this big realization that I have a lot to be grateful for, and I can't take it for granted.

Killeen:  [14:26] Interestingly enough, this leads into comparison, right?

Abigail:  [14:29] Mm hmm.

Killeen:  [14:30] You have the beneficial side of things where you were able to look and say like, "Gosh, I have so much, and I feel so thankful." Sometimes, when we compare, which is only natural, it's what we do. It's instinctual, and for some people it's survival.

[14:48] Comparison will make us also feel like the not so good stuff. We might feel inadequate and then even resentful when we have less than the next person. I think that the explosion of social media hasn't helped at all.

[15:01] I know several people have had to abandon that ship, because they just couldn't deal with the feelings that it conjured to see everyone sharing their best moments and their newest toys, if you will.

[15:09] We're going to compare. The trick is knowing how to not let that comparison rob you of your gratitude. That's why I like that minimalist attitude so much. On the flip side of all of this, I've actually experience feelings of jealousy for someone who is less burdened than I am over material things. It's so freeing, and I would like to be at that level myself.

Abigail:  [15:27] I spent years on all the social media accounts. It was for a slightly different reason, but I did slowly wean myself off them. That's not true. You wouldn't find a Facebook account, but I do have a MegaFood Facebook account.

Killeen:  [15:41] Sorry.

Abigail:  [15:42] That Killeen made me get.

Killeen:  [15:43] Sorry.

Abigail:  [15:44] [laughs] The social media that brings me joy, if we think back to the life changing magic of tidying up, is Instagram. I like pictures, especially of animals. I follow lots of "National Geographic" photographers.

[15:59] I wake up in the morning and scroll through that, and it makes me happy. I'm not comparing. I'm not judging. It brings me joy. That's my social media use. [laughs]

Killeen:  [16:09] For me, Facebook does bring me joy when my family or friends connect through some of the pictures I share. I've chosen to share certain pictures, and I actually don't really look at anybody else's stuff.

[16:21] I don't do that out of lack of interest, but I personally want to find out what's new with somebody when I see them. I don't want to already know what their whole life has been about. I want to catch up and have that be genuine, instead of, "Oh, yeah. I saw that. Oh, I saw that." That's just not me.

Abigail:  [16:35] That's a really great point. I love that.

Killeen:  [16:38] If I want to see how somebody is doing, I can hop on over and take a look, but what I've done is just I've disabled...What's the way to put it? I've unfollowed everybody. We're all still good digital friends, but I have to actually make a point to go over to their page to see anything that they have done.

Abigail:  [16:56] I think that's a whole other topic we could get into on another podcast, but social media is like a time drain. It sucks all this time out of our day. We've got families, busy stuff going on. I think the more we can simplify our life online, maybe we can have more gratitude for our real life.

Killeen:  [17:16] It goes back to me saying, "We all want to be able to make the choice to unplug. We don't want the plug pulled out from us, and suddenly we're like, "No, we've lost all the connection."

[17:24] In the power outage situation, that can be stressful, but really if it's a conscious mindful thing, it's good. It's really good.

Abigail:  [17:32] I agree.

Killeen:  [17:33] What we normally do at this point is we call the doctor, Dr. Erin Stokes, to weigh in on whatever topic we are discussing, because it's great to have her expert opinion. In this case, this is a little bit more of a touchy feely subject than anything exactly clinical.

Abigail:  [17:49] I know Dr. Erin Stokes, and I think she would be great at that, too. She is one of the most generous and empathetic people I've ever met, so I think she'll have a lot to say on gratitude.

Killeen:  [17:59] We're definitely going to give her a call and maybe have her weigh in on how to continue to feel grateful through this season of overconsumption, because this is that point where we're all in this frenzy.

[18:10] The holidays are coming and whatever holiday it is you celebrate usually. Most people are celebrating one of this nature in the community where we live, and it can drag you down. It's a hectic bit of a rat race.

Abigail:  [18:28] Let's see what she can say.

Killeen:  [18:30] Let's see how she avoids it.

[18:34] [phone ringing]

Erin Stokes:  [18:34] Hi. This is Erin.

Abigail:  [18:36] Hi, Erin. It's Abigail and Killeen, calling from That Supplement Show. How are you today?

Erin:  [18:40] Hi, Abby and Killeen. I'm doing great. Thanks. How are you?

Abigail:  [18:43] We're doing wonderful. We're actually feeling very grateful right now, because we're talking about gratitude in our latest podcast episode. Knowing you, working with you over the past two years, I thought maybe you'd have something to share on this topic.

[18:56] Killeen and I were just chatting about really simplifying and how that can lead to gratitude. Taking stock of the things that we have in our life and letting go of some of the things that maybe we don't need and that don't bring us joy, and how that act of simplification can really lead to a lot of gratitude.

Erin:  [19:12] When you simplify, you clear space and you make room for seeing what's really important. When our lives are filled with so many different either things or even things to do that we've either cluttered our home space, or we've frankly cluttered our calendars that it's so hard to see what's really important.

[19:36] Clearing things out can definitely help. Then I'm also a big fan of a daily gratitude practice. I actually have a gratitude journal that was a gift from a friend. Every morning, it's super simple.

[19:53] It's actually called the five minute journal. Every morning after I meditate, I just write down three things that I'm grateful for, and then three things that would really make today great to help prioritize what's important.

[20:06] At the end of the day, you look back at the day. You do the same thing. It's very short, but for me there's something about putting pen to paper in that old fashioned way, I guess, around gratitude.

[20:20] I know that there's other people that I know that will either think about what they're grateful for while they're still in bed or right before they go to bed in the evening. For me, I really like to make it a tangible practice.

Killeen:  [20:33] I love what you said about simplifying our calendars, because I don't think we always think about it in that way. Simplification equals be stuff or routine, but we do overschedule.

[20:47] We're recording this episode mainly because the holidays are upon us. It's a time where, by nature, we should feel grateful, but sometimes we lose sight of exactly what matters. That calendar, you had me thinking about this five minute gratitude journal.

[21:05] Some of us probably don't have five minutes on our calendars. Right then and there is a good time to think about how do we make time for what is important and reflection on the day or even just setting yourself up for a successful day. That is definitely deserving of five minutes, I would think.

Erin:  [21:24] I think it is, too. Being a working mom, I totally get it that there often feels like there's not time to do these things. I remember reading an article about a just very productive successful person that basically said, "I can't always control when I end the day."

[21:48] I beg to differ a little bit on that, but I get it if you have so much to do. He said, "But I can't control when I begin my day." I am a big fan of starting the day with intention and frankly starting the day earlier.

[22:06] It's important, especially during these winter months to get a lot of sleep. We actually should be getting more sleep than we do in the summer. At the same time, if you get yourself to bed early enough, you can get up early enough.

[22:19] I'm only talking 20 minutes early, 15 minutes of meditation, 5 minutes of gratitude journal. It's only 20 minutes. If it's normally 6:30, it's 6:10. I think that doing it right at the beginning of the day is the way to go, because we all know how the day can run away with us, and it's hard.

[22:42] Frankly, I'm not going to have time in the middle of the day to do some of these things. When you start your day that way, it just sets the tone for the entire day. Then when you do it day after day, it starts to set the tone for your entire life.

Killeen:  [22:57] How many of our listeners likely pick up their phone as the first act of the day? When you're talking about control, we can't control what the first thing we see is if we've got notifications popping up, or you maybe left the phone on a social media site.

[23:14] Whatever it is, that is definitely a way to lose control of the start of your day by just suddenly being met with information that maybe you're not ready for. I think that that's perfect.

[23:24] Save the phone, looking for 20 minutes later. Just start the day early. Have a routine where you're practicing that gratitude and doing a little bit of meditation to get your mind clear. It sounds great to me.

Erin:  [23:37] It is. Like everything, it's sometimes easier said than done, but starting with small steps makes a big difference. Getting back to the calendar for a minute, it's so interesting during the holidays, because the holidays truly can be a very joyful time.

[23:56] It's also the darkest time of the year. A lot of whatever tradition people are celebrating, there is an element of bringing light into a very dark time of the year. We see that often with holiday lights and parties.

[24:14] There's so much happening that there needs to be a balance there of certainly getting out and being social that lifts our spirits. Community is very important. At the same time, it is a dark time of the year. It is more of an inward time of year.

[24:34] If you think about our ancestors, they were absolutely getting more sleep this time of year. We're talking about before the advent of electricity. People were probably resting, I would imagine    there is actually some data to support this    10, 11, 12 hours a night.

[24:50] We can't even imagine getting that much sleep in our modern times, but there is an element of saying no and not doing everything. We see now, subscribed to a few different publications and all of these, how to survive the holidays.

[25:06] I get it, and there's a probably popular survival guides. It also makes you a little sad and like, "Wow, the holidays have always become something to survive or endure." I honestly don't think it needs to be that way, but it does mean that we probably need to say no a little more often.

Killeen:  [25:24] I was just listening to Cat Stevens and he has that lovely song where it says, "If you want to say yes, say yes. If you want to say no, say no." [laughs] I think that if he can do it, so can the rest of us.

[25:36] He's so happy in what he's saying that it completely resonated with me this afternoon, so I love that you're saying that now.

Erin:  [25:42] There's so much to that. It sounds simple, but at the same time, he's saying, "If you want to say yes, really say yes." I also think that that's important, too, is not those halfway yes, because maybe we feel guilty about things or we feel obligated or whatever might be behind the yes.

[26:03] The yes should be a full yes, just like the no can be a, "No. I need to do this for myself," or, "I need to have some quiet time." Or maybe no with no excuses. It's just, "No, I can't make it. Thanks for thinking of me and willing to do that."

[26:22] For many people, I would venture to say that, especially for many women, this is a hard thing to do and it takes some practice. It can be deliberating to suddenly clear space where you thought you had an obligation, and all of a sudden, it's open.

Killeen:  [26:41] Then you could say yes to more of the things that you wanted to say yes to in the first place.

Erin:  [26:45] Say yes to the things that bring you joy. There's that saying of, "Do more of what's bringing you joy, or do more of what makes you happy." I think that that can become particularly true during the holidays, asking yourself, "Why am I doing this?"

[27:07] The wisdom comes so often as I know you find as well, Killeen, from children, because they speak truth. The other night, there was this local fundraiser where basically if you ate out at a certain restaurant, part of the proceeds would go to my son's school.

[27:28] We actually had some really wonderful food to prepare at home, and I was saying, "Do you think that we should go to this? Maybe we should do this, because then the money will go back to your school?"

[27:39] My son's school is very active, which I appreciate very much about it, and very community oriented. He goes, "Mom, if you try to do everything, every school activity that was happening connected to my school, you would drive yourself crazy. Just no. We're going to eat at home. We've got food. We went to Whole Foods. We're good."

[27:57] It was just so simple for him, and I love that that it was so easy to just say, "No, and you would drive yourself crazy if you tried to do everything." He's right.

Abigail:  [28:09] That's a lot of wisdom from a child. That's awesome. I think they teach us some of the biggest lessons sometimes.

Erin:  [28:14] They do. Again, they just speak truth. It's just more black and white without some of the social overlay to it. I love that, and I said, "You know? You're right. We're going to have a nice dinner at home." We lit some candles, had a quiet dinner at home, and just let that go, acknowledging that we're very active and we do lots of other things.

Killeen:  [28:37] To turn the conversation just a tiny bit, let's talk about the materialism side of the holidays. I think that it's safe to say that many people, myself included, feel a little bit overwhelmed perhaps with the gift giving and the gift exchanges that often come with the holiday season.

[29:03] I know that for me, a gift, especially one that's truly from our heart, it doesn't matter the size. We've all seen the Grinch that stole Christmas. [laughs] We know the sentiments that are there.

[29:18] All the same, I think many people have been in a situation where perhaps you're given a gift that was really unexpected. Then suddenly you're feeling, "Oh, my. I need to make sure that I'm reciprocating, because I care about this person that just gave me something to show me they care about me." It can be a tricky thing. What do you think?

Erin:  [29:41] It is tricky, and I was just thinking that there's a lot of people who feel stress of all kinds this time of year. There's data around that, too. American Psychological Association data around, again I have to say, particularly women feeling tremendous stress around the holidays. It ties back to what you're saying, Killeen, because earlier, we are talking more about the time.

[30:05] [phone beeps]

Erin:  [30:05] Sorry, you guys. It seems I'm getting this phone call. I'm trying to turn off my phone. Here, I'm just going to turn it off. Thanks. I'll start over there. We are talking earlier about the stress that comes from time and just lack of time.

[30:22] Literally, there's only so many hours in the day. Combined with me as a naturopathic doctor really believing and trying to promote the idea that we really should be sleeping more this time of year not less, which is what happens for a lot of people as we're trying to squeeze more and more in.

[30:37] Maybe out late to the holiday party and then up early for work and all of that. There's another piece that goes with the gift giving clean, and that's not just the pressure of feeling that you need to give gifts, there's also a lot of times people feeling financial strain and stress around this time of year that's very real because they are feeling like they need to do more of this gift giving.

[31:01] Like you said, the best gifts do come from the heart, and I think that we can let somebody know that we're thinking about them through something simple, and handmade gifts come to mind, but again, it's always two sides to everything. There could be stress around that because people are thinking, "Oh, I need to make these amazing boxes of cookies and then I need to make these gifts."

[31:27] Just doing what you can and knowing that a simple gesture can mean a lot, and some of the best gifts that I've heard people say meant the most to them were handwritten letters or notes, to a teacher, to a friend.

[31:45] I'm taking the time to acknowledge and recognize somebody or even something simple that's not necessarily really expensive, like a beautiful candle, or if you do have time, a handmade gift is a lovely present.

[32:00] It's about reframing it, and often we need to be change agents around us, because we do live in a very materialistic world and we're constantly being bombarded with these messages.

Killeen:  [32:16] Now, all these gifts are just a click away, too, so it goes back to what Abigail and I were talking about earlier where, what are the essentials?

[32:24] Do we really want to shower others in things that perhaps are doing the opposite of bringing joy to their life because it's more clutter, or it's a duplicate item that they already have? Not that that means that they weren't appreciative of the gift, but what do they do with it now?

[32:41] It's just really something to think about before we all get caught up in the frenzy of purchasing for the sake of showing our gratitude for those that we love.

Abigail:  [32:52] I'm so glad that you guys brought this topic up because I remind my husband all the time that, "Your heartfelt gratitude can be a really important gift," and this comes into play because he gets a lot of that stress associated with being the recipient of a gift and wanting to do something back for them.

[33:10] It's hard for him to accept these gifts sometimes and I have to remind him that they're doing it to express something to you, and your honest reaction, your honest gratitude for that gift is receipt enough.

Erin:  [33:23] That's so true. I know exactly what you're both talking about, because there is that sense of sometimes an unexpected gift which is lovely, but then that feeling of having to reciprocate and wondering how to best do that, and it can magnify this time of year, for sure, so I think it's finding a way that works for you and expressing that gratitude.

[33:54] The time that it takes, and it's become more rare to sit down and write a note or a letter to somebody, that's becoming a rare gift these days.

Killeen:  [34:05] To wrap this up, the act of writing a note versus purchasing something is in essence a showing of gratitude to our earth, because we are consuming a little less and still doing something for those that we love.

[34:21] That segues into part two where we're going to talk about gratitude from a non materialistic side, and really get into the existential piece where we're talking about relationships, and our environment, and how we can be grateful there.

[34:37] Erin, pleasure as always. So glad we chatted, and you know you'll be hearing from us again soon.

Erin:  [34:44] Thank you both. It was a good conversation and I'm already looking forward to listening to your next podcast. This sounds really interesting.

Killeen:  [34:53] Yeah, we're excited to record it, so we'll keep you posted.

Erin:  [34:56] Great. Sounds good. Hope you both have a wonderful day, and we'll talk soon.

Killeen:  [34:59] Thank you so much.

Abigail:  [35:01] Thank you, Erin.

[35:02] As always, Dr. Stokes had some great wisdom to share with us. So glad that we gave her a ring.

Killeen:  [35:07] Couldn't agree more. Now, you and I have already been at this for a while, and there's still so much more I feel like we could say. That is actually why we've split this into two episodes.

Abigail:  [35:16] Two episodes?

Killeen:  [35:17] Two episodes. The second part of our gratitude discussion is going to focus on gratitude from an existential perspective. Today, we're talking about stuff and things, and kind of how to weed out that which is unnecessary and focus on what really matters.

[35:31] Next time, we're going to share our ideas on how to be grateful as mere, humble human beings on this planet earth and really think about some of those intangibles we referenced, like support or security.

[35:44] Those things are absolutely essential to our joy and our happiness and when they come into focus, it's a wonderful opportunity to enjoy the feelings of gratitude because there are so many benefits that we get from just basking in that wonderful feeling of gratitude itself.

Abigail:  [36:01] There's so much to be said about positive thinking and positive outlook, and when you foster gratitude for everything in your life, even those things, as you said, that aren't out and out gratifying, then it really changes your life, your whole perspective on the world, so I'm looking forward to it.

Killeen:  [36:17] Yeah, let's pick this one up soon.

[36:18] [music]

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