Generally our heads can tend to jump backwards and forwards. We may go over the day, the week, or even the year/s. We can revisit conversations we wish we had handled differently, regret not preventing something from happening or feel remorse over our own behavior in some way or another. Conversely our minds also love to dive into the future, planning – always something to do on the ‘to do’ list, fantasizing about what things could be like if they were different or they changed or just hoping and wishing life does change all for the better.
This mind jumping, we hardly even notice, however we do feel its impact. We get exhausted thinking all the time. We can relive past emotions like they are present now, and ‘pre-live’ emotions that may exist in this unknown future. All very exhausting.
Mindfulness has a way of pulling us out of this mind time travelling and placing us back here in the present, where things are actually happening. One mindfulness strategy that can do this is mindful eating. The trick to mindfulness is to be fully engaged. So why not develop this skill on something that is good to do – eating? With the weather ‘downunder’ warming up, why not try some mindful eating on something yummy like an ice-cream or your favourite dessert? Tune in to the sounds as you approach either your fridge, freezer or the café. Watch as you take the food into your hands.
Before you start, pause for a moment to look at what you are about to eat. Notice the colours, shape, textures, and smells. Consider how fortunate you are to be able to have this food at this time. Consider how many people have contributed to getting this food to your table. Notice the saliva building in the mouth purely out of anticipation.
Then slowly take your first bite (or lick). Notice the temperature change in your mouth. Allow the first mouthful to just rest in the mouth for a moment. Allow the taste buds to fully become aware that there is food in your mouth. Pay attention to every sensory detail. Watch the amazing ability of the tongue as it sweeps and assists the teeth.
Mindful eating can greatly increase our sense of pleasure in our food. It can reduce the amount of food we eat and aid in our digestion. You don’t have to pause for every mouthful, but try to slow down at least the first bite of every meal and watch how it slows down other parts of your day.
Be conscious in your day by being mindful and enjoy the everyday pleasures such as eating ice-cream.