Mindfulness is practice centered on focusing on the present moment. Being mindful has been found to help reduce stress and promote overall well-being.
One of the first mindfulness exercises I was ever exposed to was the practice of eating a raisin…mindfully. On the surface that doesn’t sound like a particularly therapeutic experience but I have to tell you that it kind of blew my mind.
When was the last time you actually sat down and thoroughly experienced your food? You can try the raisin exercise on your own to see what it’s like.
Practicing mindful eating with a raisin
Get a raisin and before you jump right into eating it, take a second just to look at it. Notice it’s color. How would you describe it? Now, take a second to explore it’s texture – what does it remind you of? How does it feel in your hand? If you squeeze it a bit what happens? Then place the raisin in your mouth and hold it on your tongue before you chew – what does it feel like? Then finally, begin to chew it. How does the texture change? How would you describe its taste to someone who has no clue what a raisin is or tastes like?
This may feel a bit strange to do, but it’s a great entry point into the practice of doing anything mindfully.
We’re always in a rush…
If you’re like me then most days you might feel like you’re just running from one thing to the next. It’s hard to say present and be mindful all the time. But, if eating is one way we take care of our wellness, why not make it an even more enjoyable experience by practicing mindful eating like you did with the raisin?
If you practice this from time to time, just like any other mindfulness strategy, you may realize that you haven’t been enjoying many life experiences as thoroughly as you could have been.
That’s why the raisin exercise was such a mind shift for me.
You can also practice mindful drinking, which I think is captured well in this tea meditation, which I find so soothing. It’s stunning in its simplicity. So much so, that I’ve shared it quite a bit with folks I’ve worked with over the years.
Mindful eating is good for your relationship with food
Not only does mindfulness help you reduce stress and practice presence, but mindful eating in particular can also help manage binge eating and disordered eating patterns. And with an estimated 3 million+ adults experiencing Binge Eating Disorder each year (and the layered relationship we all have with food) there are a lot of people struggling to manage, or create, a truly healthy relationship with food.
Whether you hope to practice mindful eating as a part of your eating disorder recovery or seek to be more fully present in your life through food, mindful eating is a great, accessible tool.
Give it a try and see how it feels for you!
If you need help managing relationships with food, we’re here for you. Schedule a free phone consult with a therapist today.