The moment by moment awareness of life is commonly referred to as mindfulness. Although it sounds so simple, practicing it daily is not that easy since human beings are easily caught up in self-talk and own thoughts that make it hard to notice life going by.
This tendency to rush through life is also reflected in eating habits. Most people eat one meal after another without being aware of what they are eating or how much they have consumed. Applying the art of being mindful simply means a return to paying real attention to life. It is amazing how people notice all sorts of good aspects of the food they have been eating once they really begin to pay attention.
What Does Mindful Eating Mean?
Mindful eating does not mean going on diet or giving up certain foods, rather it is about experiencing the food in a deeply intensive way such as the pleasure of eating it. You could be eating a hamburger or any other snack mindfully which means that you get to enjoy it more than if you were gobbling it down. On the other hand you can eat it halfway and decide you body had enough.
Recent experiments of the mind and mouth have shown that eating slowly and genuinely as you relish each morsel could be the much needed remedy for the stampede for diets that never succeed to slow down the rapid descent towards obesity, common in modern times.
The rhythm of life is getting faster everyday which makes it hard to even check which direction you are headed. Mindful living, a concept which is derived from Buddhist teachings, might be the only answer to slow the momentum in most peoples' lives as they hurtle through life aimlessly. It is important to stop again and again to ask the all important question in the course of a meal: "Does my body need this "? According to one of the popular mindful eating techniques commonly referred to as basic mindful bite there are four ways of approaching food:
Arriving at food
This is where you realize that you are in the presence of food and have to carefully work ahead. It is important to notice each meal or snack by taking a moment to consider it.
Awakening to food
This involves paying attention to each aspect of the food itself in the process of eating and even before eating it.
Tuning into the body
It means paying attention to your body in the course of eating and noticing the movement of lips, fingers, tongue, limbs and other muscles involved in the process. It also involves tuning in to your level of hunger and realizing when you need to stop eating.
Service with food
Mindfulness should extend to all functions that touch on the service of food. Activities such as setting the table, washing dishes, clearing the table, shopping for food or preparing it are included in this process. Each of these activities should be carried out with all due attention and wakefulness.
Mindful living can bring a variety of benefits which not only affect physical but also emotional health apart from enhancing relationships. Being mindful is a tool that is effective enough to be used at any time with lasting results. When practiced in daily life it not only assists to improve the quality of life but also leads to general wellness.