Mindfulness is the practice of being very present in whatever you are doing. It has become a hot topic for self-improvement and improving relationships in general. I believe the reason for this is that we have become very busy. We seem to be constantly driven to accomplish more. We spend our days running from one thing to the next, sometimes multi-tasking so much that, at any given time, we can forget where we are. When we do that, relationships suffer.
The relationship that we have with food is no different. Eating is one of the major ways in which we communicate with our self. What we eat affects our body, mind, and spirit. It affects our mood, emotions, hormones, and digestion. The process of eating involves all 5 senses of taste, smell, sight, hearing, and touch; it can have a powerful impact on who we are because our senses are connected directly to areas in our brain.
By taking the time to be aware of how the food you are eating affects each of your 5 senses, you will begin to appreciate nuances of what you are eating and how your body responds to it. For people who really enjoy cooking, it is like creating a work of art, combining foods and blending spices that captures the attention of those for whom it is prepared.
You may not feel that way about cooking but your body definitely communicates with you about the food you eat. By turning your attention to the food you are eating, you will begin to know important information about how food affects you by bridging the sub conscious mind with the conscious mind. This is not new age rhetoric, so stay with me and I will explain.
Have you ever sat down in front of the TV with a bag of chips for a snack and after a few minutes realized that the bag is now empty and you don’t really feel as satisfied as you would hope? Even after eating enough calories to constitute an entire meal you still feel hungry? Or maybe now you feel a little queasy. That’s because you didn’t invite your brain to engage in the act of eating.
Eating mindfully means that you eliminate distractions so that you can focus on the smell and flavor of your food. You become aware of the texture, temperature, and whether there is a sound associated with eating it. You can begin to understand and appreciate why and how certain foods bring you joy, comfort, or contentment. As you begin to recognize these things, you will be better able to avoid overeating because you will recognize when you have had enough. It will become obvious when you have overindulged because your body will communicate that to you, as well. Eventually, you will know exactly what your body wants and needs making it easy for you to decide what and how much to eat.
Enjoying meals with others is a great way to increase the mindfulness practice of the entire group and enhance the effect of eating a great meal. There is something very enjoyable about eating in the company of friends, family, and loved ones; it is also scientifically proven to strengthen bonds between individuals.
So, every time you eat something sit down, make observations about what you are about to eat, elicit a feeling of gratitude from deep within, and invite your brain to communicate with you about how this food affects your body, mind, and spirit. This one simple practice will have a profound impact on your life, I promise.