Eating is something many of us are fortunate enough to do each day, and therefore, eating offers us a wonderful opportunity for mindfulness practice. Often times people do not eat because they are hungry or in need of nourishment, they eat because they are bored, upset, sad, uncomfortable, feeling various unsettling emotions, or simply seeking stimulation.
Eating in this emotional way can cause us to make poor dietary choices, and can also cause us to experience ill health. It can be very healing and insightful to begin the practice of mindful eating.
Mindful eating is simply eating with awareness of the process of eating—it is to be present while we eat, rather than being distracted by thought, television, or any other stimulus.
We may find this practice to be rather difficult. We may find that eating is used in a way to sedate us, we may find that we eat rather anxiously, we may find that we are unable to control our eating habits and instead guzzle our food without chewing it well, poorly combine foods, eat before our previous meal has digested, or overeat beyond our body’s comfortable limit.
As eating is so connected with our survival needs and emotions, to eat mindfully can bring awareness to many aspects of our behavior and psychology. It helps us gain control over our eating habits and frees us from the negative effects of distracted and anxious eating.
To eat mindfully, allow yourself to be truly present and attentive to each aspect of your meal—cooking, preparing, dishing, tasting, chewing, swallowing, digesting, etc. The essential point is simply to eat with awareness of the process of eating, and not to be distracted by the mind and its fantasies. It is to directly feel the present moment experience of eating, and not to think about it or anything else.
If you'd like to learn more about mindfulness check out our Introduction to Meditation course
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