-The quality or state of being conscious or aware of something.
- A mental state achieved by focusing one's awareness on the present moment, while calmly acknowledging and accepting one's feelings, thoughts, and bodily sensations, used as a therapeutic technique."
Mindfulness is a practice used in many avenues of life - from mindfulness meditation, to mindful breathing, to just working on being mindful in one’s daily routine. Though it is a difficult practice to master completely, it reaps many benefits: reduced rumination, stress reduction, boosts working memory, increased focus, less emotional reactivity, more cognitive flexibility, relationship satisfaction, and overall, a more positive outlook on life, according to the American Psychological Association. Looking at this execution of mindfulness, it doesn’t seem like something that can be followed through when eating a meal, but in reality, this is one of the most beneficial times in which to use such a beneficial practice. Eating mindfully can prompt better satiation both nutritionally and mentally, a better relationship with food, a better acknowledgement and understanding of one’s own hunger signals, and even a better relationship with your own body and mind. When mindfully eating,
Express gratitude & give thanks - when we give thanks for the food we’re sitting down and eating, we enhance our connection between our body, mind, and food. Genuinely feeling thankful for the food we have the opportunity to eat and cherish is one of the best ways to stay mindful, show gratitude, and appreciate our surroundings.
Put down the phone and other distractions - meals are a time to slow down, and although many of us eat in a rush, on a short break, or feel the need to “catch up," save it until before or after you sit down to eat. Think of this as a time to catch up with your body. When scrolling through your phone, or doing anything other than eating, we lose touch with what we’re eating, how it’s making us feel, and can often miss our body’s hunger signals, or signs of satiation.
Think & feel - never forget why you’re eating, why you’re putting said food into your body, what you want the outcome to be, and how you want it to make you feel. While you’re eating; what sensations do you feel? What does each bite taste and feel like? How do you feel emotionally as you’re eating? Do you feel satisfied, energized, etc? These questions will keep you in tune with your body and mind, hunger cues, and reinforce mindful thoughts and practices.
Slow it down - I catch myself, a lot of the time, rushing through a meal, or not truly paying attention to the fact that I’m eating. Sometimes, it’ll happen, when you’re in a rush or don’t have time to be as mindful as you would be - we’re human, it’s okay. However, taking the time to savor each bite, feel your body receiving the nourishment from your food, and knowing what your body needs or doesn’t need is the perfect way to stay mindful.