How do you usually eat your meals?
Have you ever had a smart phone in your hand, and before you know it, you’ve finished eating?
“Was the pasta I ate today in tomato sauce or white sauce…?”
Even if you don’t go like that, there may be times when you have finished eating somehow without noticing due to inattention.
In this article, I’m going to show you some Mindfulness work that you can do through the act of “eating” to make it easier to incorporate Mindfulness into your everyday life.
(Mindfulness is a way of experiencing “A moment-by-moment awareness, without any evaluation or judgment, simply paying attention on purpose. “If you want to read about the concept of Mindfulness first, from the basics, I recommend ‘Introduction to Mindfulness!’)
What does it mean to eat mindfully? First, have a raisin on hand to practice mindful eating. If you don’t have access to raisins, or don’t like raisins, you can use other dried fruit. You can use this to try the audio exercise on Mindful eating.
How did you like your first mindful eating?
I’m sure there were some new tastes and aromas of raisins to discover.
What was the experience like to eat one raisin for five minutes, whereas normally you would have popped two or three into your mouth and swallowed them rather quickly?
Recommended ways to eat with the five senses
The best way to incorporate this into your daily life is to eat with your five senses in mind.
Take a look at your plate before you begin to eat.
Consider the aesthetics, for example:
“The red color like a tomato looks delicious!”
“It’s fun because there are so many different colors and the colors are vibrant!”
You may notice somethings like this as you become more attentive to the present moment.
Sense of smell
Let’s breathe in the scent.
As you consider the smell of your meal you may think:
“What is this refreshing scent?”
“How good it smells! I can’t wait to eat it!”
You may feel yourself salivate; you can try this by imagining eating a fresh bright yellow lemon.
Sense of touch
How about putting a bite into your mouth?
You may notice sensations such as:
“What a soft mouthfeel!”
“It’s accented by the texture of the mushrooms.”
If it’s a hot dish, you may be able to feel the steam hitting your face.
Observe the sounds you make when you eat.
Perhaps you will notice the crunch of your vegetables, or the sound of your fork and knife as they cut your next bite.
Of course, don’t forget to chew it well and taste it.
As you focus on taste, you may remark:
“There is the sweetness of tomatoes and onions, but there is also a slight sourness.”
“The more I chew, the more the taste changes.”
Even just eating the plate in front of you like this, while paying attention to the five senses, can be a mindfulness training.
Incorporate ways to have a mindful experience into your daily diet. There may be times when it is difficult to eat mindfully from start to finish. Let’s keep practicing while making it easy to tackle, such as “eat mindfully for the first three minutes” or “eat at your own pace when you eat alone”.
In the next post, we’ll try some ‘self-compassion’ exercises that will direct your empathy to yourself.