Mindful Mondays- Mindful Eating and Drinking
In this 10 minute mindfulness practice, we will engage with our food and drink in a new way. Mindful eating is about noticing your experience with food and how it relates to the inner working of your mind and body. Sometimes we eat in order to satisfy physical hunger and other times we eat to satisfy an emotional need. This practice allows you to cultivate a gentle and compassionate attention to what motivates you to eat and drink and also to notice your levels of physical hunger and thirst.
For this practice you will need a piece of fruit and a beverage. Then begin to cultivate a lens of curious observation. Connect with your inner experience first, check your level of hunger or fullness on a scale of 1-10 (1 being very hungry, 5 neither hungry nor full, 10 being very full). Once you have your number, then engage with the bite size piece of fruit you have selected for your practice. Use all of your senses to examine and explore the fruit.
Connect with the back-story of the fruit growing from a seed under sunshine and rain to arriving in the palm of your hand. Examine the texture, color, and shape of the fruit with your eyes. Feel the texture, shape, density, and landscape of the fruit with your fingertips. Smell the fruit and detect the degree of fragrance present (mild to strong). Listen to the sound of the fruit between your fingertips holding it up to your ear. Close your eyes, then gently place the food on your tongue (but don't chew it yet!). Then roll it around your tongue and experience any flavors, textures, and sensations in your mouth. Slowly chew the fruit at 1/4 your regular speed, connecting with the experience of taste in your mouth, the movement of the jaw and tongue, and the salivary gland activity. Then swallow the food and notice the movements of your throat as your fruit travels down the esophagus and into your stomach. Detect any lingering tastes in your mouth. Pay close attention to your thoughts and impulses (like if you want another bite immediately, if your are satisfied, or if you are judging what you notice). Notice if you are still at your number on the hunger scale (1-10), or if it has changed. Either way, remain neutral, curious, and compassionate about your experience.
Then engage with your cup of (beverage of your choice) in the same fashion. Engage your senses. Detect your level of thirst. Bring the liquid up to your mouth and take a small sip. Allow the liquid to remain on your tongue for a moment to notice the flavors. Then slowly swallow and feel the liquid travel down into your stomach. Notice your mind, body, and level of thirst.
Aim to practice mindfully taking one bite or one sip of each meal and drink throughout your day.
Tanya Gabriel, MA, LMHC provides affordable counseling and mindfulness instruction. She is passionate about teaching present moment awareness to her community.