The Zen Of Eating
Our TV screens are filled with more images of food than ever before: from competitions like Masterchef Australia to entire channels on Foxtel devoted to showcases delights both sweet and savoury.
But when was the last time you really, truly enjoyed a meal? As in, the process of eating, digesting and appreciating it?
Mindfulness is a technique adapted from the Buddhist tradition and now widely used in Western psychology as a way of assisting you to “stay in the moment”. Mindfulness has been a very successful tool in the treatment of depression and anxiety in particular.
But mindfulness isn’t just a bandaid for when you’re feeling unwell. You can also employ it in a number of ways to enhance the life you’re already living. Like when eating, for example!
Author Luke Carrangis suggests the following tips for “mindful eating”. Give them a try the next time you’re sitting down for a bite:
- Put aside an extra five to ten ninutes for eating and digesting
- Minimize extraneous distractions (turn down or turn off the radio, TV or phone)
- If friends or family ask you what you’re doing, politely say “I’m just noticing/enjoying my food!” Then rejoin the dinner conversation.
- Count the number of times you chew each bite (aim for thirty).
- Enjoy sensations, flavors, sounds, smells, and sights one at a time, as if you’re doing a wine tasting.
- It’s OK if you get distracted and drift off. This is completely normal. If this happens, you haven’t failed. When you realize this has happened, simply acknowledge it and come back to noticing.
- After the meal, sit still without eating for five minutes. Every one or two minutes, pay attention to sensations in your stomach and feelings of fullness. Just see what you notice.
- If you don’t have time in your schedule to eat mindfully for every meal, that’s OK. Perhaps start off with one meal per day or one day per week and notice how it feels. If you like it, then maybe do it a little more, bit by bit.
Let us know how you go!