Monday 28 March, 2016.
How can a Mindful Eating Meditation help with managing stress?
Most of what we do in life is controlled by unconscious habits, and as long as we remain unaware of how those habits are ruling our lives, they continue to control us.
The first step in changing these habits is to start becoming aware of what is actually going on with us, and around us. Mindfulness is the starting point.
What does this have to do with feeling stressed?… Let us remember the definition of stress…
Stress occurs in any situation, chronic or acute, that induces the flight-or-fight response in us. Our bodies are flooded with chemicals which then set in motion all sorts of physical reactions – tense muscles, increased heart rate, faster breathing…
If we fight or flee, then the chemicals are used and released BUT, in our world, we usually don’t have to respond physically to stress – it is more often emotional or mental stress that attacks us! …
So, the chemicals accumulate and our responses become automatic.
We are often anxious.
We worry about what has not happened…
And what we cannot control.
Often we are not even aware that we are anxious – it becomes a “normal” state for us!Chronic anxiety, which is a symptom of unmanaged stress, takes our attention away from the “now” and projects it into the future… a space that no one can know for sure!
How do we counter-act the tendency to spend emotional energy on being anxious?…
We train ourselves to bring our minds firmly into the present moment…
We practice being Mindful
We learn to be still, and to stay calm.
The mindful eating meditation is a good exercise for focusing on the “now”.
Are you ready?…
Mindful Eating Meditation
- Find something that is small and tasty, like a grape, and hold it in the palm of your hand. And begin your Mindful Eating Meditation!
- Take a few seconds to notice your preconceived ideas of what that grape may taste like and then let go of that thought.
- Bring your focus to the grape in your hand. Allow your senses to become alive and alert. Notice the shape. The size. The texture of the grape. Notice the colour and feel the coolness of it on your skin.
- Now, consciously and slowly, lift the grape with your other hand and bring it to your mouth. Feel its texture and smoothness.
- As you bring the grape to your mouth, notice the feelings of the muscles in your arm. Lightly touch the grape against your lips. Do you notice any change in your mouth? A bit more saliva maybe…
- Now bite the grape and feel the burst of flavour in your mouth and on your tongue and teeth. As you chew, feel the texture and notice the movements of your mouth as the grape moves towards your throat and then…
- Become aware of the absence of the grape, of the taste and the aroma…Do you feel like another bite on the grape for the taste?
- Now think about the way you ate this grape… and compare it to the way you would normally just munch a bunch of grapes… Not every munch can be classed as a Mindful Eating Meditation?
We usually eat on automatic pilot! …We are thinking about the day without paying much attention the way we eat or what we eat. And, very often, even why we are eating!
When you start eating your meals mindfully you will start noticing the different tastes and also become more aware of your body’s signals. Often you will eat less but enjoy your food more…
Any Mindful Meditation practice will have the same benefits. Try Mindful Walking as a focusing, mind-control and awareness technique… You might see your world in a different light!!
Try making a quick snack into a Mindful Eating Meditation…
Remember next time you eat potato crisps that mindful eating includes feeling the saltiness of each crisp on your fingers. Noting the taste of the salt when you put the crisp on your tongue.
It’s being aware of and listening to the loud crunch of each bite, and the noise the chewing makes in your head. And, as you eat the crisps, you take note of the rough texture against your tongue, and the pressure of your teeth grinding together.
You are mindful of how your stomach expands and feels fuller. You experience each bite from start to finish by slowing down every aspect of the eating process to be fully aware of each movement, swallow, aroma and feeling derived from eating.
- Do not read while you eat.
- Give your mind a break from outside noise.
- Focus on your mouthful.
Make Your Meals into a MINDFUL EATING MEDITATION…
And start living better everyday!