Mindful Eating Exercise
Eating has a profound effect on your health, and making good food choices is perhaps the single most important way you can care for your body. However, we understand that high stress levels can trigger a host of symptoms that include food cravings and overeating. Through mindful eating, you can become aware of your feelings, thoughts, and patterns about food. In turn, you’ll be able to make wise food choices. Following is an exercise that may help you. While this exercise uses a raisin, you may replace the raisin with another food.
Holding – First, take a raisin and hold it in the palm of your hand or between your finger and thumb. Focus on it. Imagine that you’ve just dropped it from Mars and have never seen an object like this before in your life.
Seeing – Take time to really see it; gaze at the raisin with care and full attention. Let your eyes explore every part of it – the highlights where the light shines, the darker hollows, the folds and ridges, and any asymmetries or unique features.
Touching – Turn the raisin over between your fingers and explore its texture. If it enhances your sense of touch, do this with your eyes closed.
Smelling – Hold the raisin beneath your nose. With each inhalation, take in the aroma or fragrance that may arise. Notice any sensations that may be happening in your mouth or stomach.
Placing – Now slowly bring the raisin up to your lips. Notice how your hand and arm know exactly how and where to position it. Gently place the object in your mouth. Without chewing, notice how it goes into your mouth. Spend a few moments exploring the sensations of having it in your mouth while exploring it with your tongue.
Tasting – When you are ready, prepare to chew the raisin. Notice how and where it needs to be for chewing. Then, very consciously, take one or two bites into it. Notice what happens. Experience its tastes and continue chewing. Without swallowing yet, notice the bare sensations of taste and texture in your mouth – how these may change over time, moment to moment. Also, notice any changes in the object itself.
Swallowing – When you feel ready to swallow the raisin, see if you can first detect the intention to swallow. Consciously experience the intention before you actually swallow the raisin.
Following – Finally, see if you can feel what is left of the raisin moving down into your stomach. As a whole, sense how your body feels after completing this exercise in mindful eating.