One of the easiest things in life to be grateful for (and probably one of the easiest thing in our lives to take for granted) is food. Glorious food, in all its deliciousness, gives our bodies the fuel to survive, repair and grow without a single conscious thought.
Most of us have it in abundance. We don’t really think about the fact we can casually go buy a banana at any time of day that has been grown from the other side of the world. That in itself is amazing. Think of the amount of people and processes it has taken for that banana to get from the tropical climate of Costa Rica into your humble little fruit bowl.
But today’s challenge is all about eating mindfully. What even is mindfulness anyway? Well, that’s a buzzword coined by the psychologists and spiritualists of the world to describe the act of being present.
Why is that important though? Well, because being present is actually a whole lot healthier for your brain than any other mental state.
Confused? Think about it this way… turning a past issue over and over in your mind is harbouring negativity (like guilt, shame, embarrassment, regret, etc.). When has holding on to those feelings done anybody any good? [Past = possible depression].
On the other hand, thinking ahead to a future issue is anticipating certain feelings (worry, concern, fear, apprehension, etc.) which is also not really a good thing to be carrying around in your noggin’. [Future = possible anxiety].
You can’t imagine the incredible jumble of feelings, confusion, and general negativity when somebody is experiencing both of these mental states! [Depression and anxiety! Holy crap!]
So, what is the solution? Why, the present of course. The present is the acceptance of how things are, right now in this moment. This moment is all we really have anyway, so we may as well make the most of it.
But let’s start easy. Today, your challenge is to eat just one of your meals mindfully.
- Get yourself to a quiet space. No distractions allowed, that means no phone, no TV, no nattering. You need to give your food the full attention it deserves (it probably has come from some foreign land all the way to see you after all).
- If you are eating with a knife and fork, use them to cut your food and place them down one the food is in your mouth. If you are eating something with your hands, like a sandwich, once you have taken a bite put the sandwich back on the plate.
- Now this is the fun step. The food has passed your lips… what do you taste? What textures do you feel? Was there an explosion of one taste? Or a combination of ingredients? Where can you feel the food? Is it touching the roof of your mouth? Really enjoy this, give this experience of eating your full attention. Close your eyes if you want. Your awareness of flavour will shoot up, I guarantee it! Eating hasn’t felt this good for so long, right?!
- Be aware of that action too. Did you enjoy that bite? Are you ready to repeat steps 1&2?
- Repeat the steps until you are full or until you have finished your meal.
This technique is so good for so many reasons. It’s a good first step towards mentally training your thoughts, being present, enjoying the moment, and appreciating food again. It’s also used as a technique to lose weight, as you become more conscious of your body’s needs and realise a lot sooner when you are full.
Great challenge, right?
Tell me, what food are you grateful for today?