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Mindful eating can help with so many of people’s’ common ailments. How many people have multiple stomach aches every week and are constantly hungry? When I eat slower, I tend to eat less, better absorb my food, and feel more satisfied with my meals. I used to have so many problems: overeating, always famished, frequent stomach aches, the list could go on. Since implementing a mindful approach to eating, however, these issues have dramatically decreased. There are many reasons for all of the above issues, but eating too quickly and in a stressed-out state can be a major factor.
A mindful approach to eating may not come intuitively to those of us in modern society, but with a bit of regular practice you can implement this habit into your life.
Here are 3 easy ways to get started with mindful eating:
Try eating a chocolate covered raisin. First notice how the chocolate shell melts in your mouth without you even having to chew. Slowly savor the raisin next while noticing all of the sensations you may feel. You might think about how the taste is unlike you’ve ever experienced with this type of food, or maybe you might just notice that you really do not like raisins! Eating this single chocolate covered raisin may take over 5 minutes.
Pick one meal to focus on every day for the next week. Whether that be breakfast, lunch, dinner, or even a snack, the time of day does not matter. Just choose one meal to consistently focus on for at least seven days in a row. Before you sit down to eat, take 1-minute of silence in front of your food. Do what you want with this time, whether it be a meditation, prayer, breathing exercise, or just letting yourself be still (keep your eyes closed to rid yourself of distractions). Let this silence carry over throughout the meal. If possible, eat this meal alone or have others with you try eating their meal this way also.
Mindful tea drinking - Is this redundant? It is possible to ever really gulp down tea? Even so, I frequently find myself finishing a cup of tea without even noticing. For a mindfulness exercise, though, pay attention as you brew your tea, watching the water color change, noticing the air rise out of the cup, and taking in the smell. Make an effort to sit down and pay attention to your tea throughout the entire time until you are finished with it. Do not try to do anything else during this time, simply focus on your tea alone. This practice can be done at any point in the day (morning, midday, evening, etc.).
Side note: Coffee may be substituted for this, as long as it is not your first cup in the morning for the regular “must have my coffee!” drinkers.
With these easy exercises, you can begin to become more mindful every time you eat (and drink!) and watch your plethora of food-and-digestion-related ailments fade.