What are the benefits of mindful eating? The first thing you may notice is that you consume less food. Becoming sensitive to when you are full will automatically cue you to not overeat. This will also help to support a healthy body weight. You may also become aware of emotional eating habits. Are you stuffing feelings, eating out of anxiety, or perhaps not eating at all? Once you tab into your feelings around food, you become aware of how your body is or isn’t digesting. This can lead to modifying eating choices and choosing those that support optional absorption and health. Sometimes, we get so caught up in our daily lives, our ability to multitask, and we have become accustomed to the constant stream of distractions and information. We sit down with our meal in front of the television or even when we are going out for dinner we often don’t enjoy our food as much as we should. Shifting our awareness to thoroughly chewing our food will not only keep us in a state of mindfulness, it is also extremely beneficial to the overall health and well-being. The pre-digestive enzymes released in the mouth are critical for breaking down food before we send it on its merry way through the rest of the intestinal tract. Chose a time to have a meal by yourself when you can tune in and be fully present with the experience. Make a freshly cooked, seasonal meal that you know you will love. Have fun while you are cooking the meal, knowing that you will be infusing your joy into the food you are creating. Arrange the food nicely on a beautiful plate. When you take the first bite, explore the taste of it, what does it taste like, can you tell the texture, and how do the flavors of the food feel to your emotional body? Put your eating utensil back down and rest your hands in your lab. If you are enjoying a sandwich or hand-held food, place it back on the plate. Sit and experience the taste on your tongue and the texture in your mouth. Notice how you are feeling right this moment? These are all aspects of mindful eating. Once thoroughly chewed and savored, swallow and begin again with another bite. Continue until you are full. Do you consistently overeat? Your body actually lets you know when you are full. When eating mindfully, how do we know we are finished with the meal? Our bodies give us a little sigh. We must be paying attention or the sigh will happen and we won’t even be aware.
The happiest people are happy, not because they don’t have issues, fears, or worries but because they are able to live without attaching to those things. They can stay focused on what they want to create because they see and detach from the things that would otherwise hold them back. There are mindfulness habits of the happiest people and even just one of these habits will bring you power, grace, and happiness. Mindfulness is not an effort to eliminate fear or block out all the shadows in our life. It’s a state of being that makes it OK to be happy, to love yourself, and to achieve success despite those fears and shadows. First habit is to meditate. If you don’ have a meditation practice, consider starting one. Start small. Even just a few minutes a day can have a profound impact on centering you into the moment. 2. Be present. So much of mindfulness is feeling grounded in the present moment. Happy and mindful people are able to maintain an awareness of the present moment, no matter what they’re doing – and you can too. Be fully present in your meetings, be mindful of the food you are eating and the act of nourishing your body during a meal*( see blog post about mindful eating), and feel the power of your body while exercising. These simple opportunities for awareness will help you stay present in every moment. 3. Be aware of how you feel. Pay attention to your emotions and how you are feeling in any given moment. This is especially helpful when you don’t feel good. If you notice feeling stressed or agitated, “check-in” to your body and feel what is showing up in a physical level. For instance, instead of succumbing to anger and expressing in a toxic manner, this process helps to feel the anger, identify why it exists, and to accept that it is K to feel anger. 4.Keep a Journal. The process of journaling helps to stay aware of what is happening in your life and how you feel. It helps to get things off your chest, detach from energy, and see things from a bigger picture. 5. Reduce social-media exposure. It is ironic that a tool meant to increase connection feels as if it is leading to an increase in disconnection between you and other people, and between us and ourselves. For many of us, it feels like social media creates a human experience that is designed around the instant gratification of external validation and approval. Happy people maintain a healthy relationship with social media. They take time away from their phone in order to reconnect to themselves (meditation), enjoy real human connection, or do the things that make them happy.
Starting your morning in stillness and calm lays the foundations for a calm and productive day ahead. It also helps you deal with the challenges that the day brings with a sense of clarity and calm, and increased levels of focus. You start the day stress and worry-free, rather than starting with a stressed and chattering mind. Your morning will set the tone for your entire day, so it’s important to go through your morning slowly, intentionally, and positively.
As soon as you wake up, lie still and flat on your back, and breathe. Breathe through three breath cycles. Pay attention to how your breath feels. Pay attention to how your body is feeling. Pay attention to where your thoughts are. Don’t label anything as good or bad, don’t cling to anything. Just notice and let go. Often, I would find myself waking up with a racing heart and a body full of anxiety. But taking the time to pause and check-in can make a huge difference. Just acknowledging how I’m feeling and the thoughts I’m having reduces their power and I’m able to enter the day in a calmer state of mind. Train your mind to be positive from the minute you wake up. Now is the time to start bringing in positive thoughts and positive input. You can also now start to bring to mind all that you are grateful for, and to think of the joyful moments in your life. Think about the house you slept in, your friends and family that support you, and the fact that you woke up at all. We must always remind ourselves of the privilege of being alive, and be grateful for all that we have been given. Remind yourself of this when you wake up. Marcus Aurelius said, “When you arise in the morning, think of what a precious privilege it is to be alive — to breathe, to think, to enjoy, to love.” If we view each day as a bonus day — to live, to love, to do the things we love to do — we can’t help but experience gratitude. Viewing each day in this way will ensure that you live your day mindfully .I try to remind myself each morning that today is a bonus day. A new day is not a given, but a gift, and I want to use it well. I realize how fortunate I am to have it. I’m also fortunate to still have friends and family, a roof to sleep under, and clean water to drink. None of this should be taken for granted.