Mindfulness is an awareness of our daily actions and thoughts and willingness to consciously change those actions and thoughts to more empowering ones. There are many different ways to practice mindfulness. You can start with mindful breathing, which is being consciously aware of your breath, breathing in and allowing your belly to expand, while on the out breath enabling the abdomen to contract. This type of breathing will not only calms you down but also deepens your connection with your body, allowing you to be more aware of different sensations and feelings.
You can also practice mindfulness in your relationships. We sometimes get the feeling that our partners, husband, wives or other family members do not understand us. We end up creating unnecessary arguments instead of explaining that we just had a busy and tiring day at work and need a moment for ourselves to switch off and unwind. Adding a mindful breathing technique when communicating with your family members helps you create feelings of calmness, feeling more centred in your body also helping you to communicate better and express how you feel.
When it comes to mindful eating, the same technique does wonders as well. When we connect to our breath and our body, we are also able to listen to our cravings and notice when we are satiated and stop overindulging or eating a portion bigger than what is needed.
To start practising mindful eating first begin connecting to your breath. Taking a few deep breaths in and out through your nose to bring you and your thoughts to be present and aware of the food you are about to enjoy. With every bite taste the flavours and chew each bite for at least 25 seconds. Feel the texture, imagine having an affair with the food you eat, imagine how all the nutrients are getting absorbed and nourishing your body, increasing your energy and vitality.
When it comes to cravings, first connect to your breath by taking three deep breaths in through your nose and out through your mouth. Once you connect to your breath, ask yourself if the craving you are currently experiencing is because you are feeling stressed, ungrounded, you are not present in your body and looking for a distraction. Or are you craving specific food item because you associate eating it with being connected to one particular person or a situation? This does happen a lot when we feel lonely and miss our family members and end up craving food that we used to eat when growing up, hence comfort eating. In this case, you might only need to pick up the phone and call the loved ones.
Sometimes we use food as a reward. I heard this excuse so many times from people who train a lot at the gym throughout the week and use the weekend to treat themselves to junk meals and alcohol. Have you ever tried replacing this way of rewarding yourself with a day at a spa, a walk in the park, fun time spent with friends having deep, meaningful conversations, which will fuel us from within not needing to look for that fuel in the food?
Mindful eating would also be allowing yourself to eat that dessert when you feel like you want it without needing to justify your choice. Mindful eating would even be, knowing when to stop eating without a need to finish the whole dessert or a meal. Sometimes we end up overeating because of the childhood programming hearing at the dinner table that we won’t be able to leave unless we finished the whole meal.
First of all, you cannot start the mindful eating without first connecting to your breath. The same rule applies to other areas of our life. We can’t live a conscious life if we are not mindful of our actions. When we take control of our own lives and our decisions, we empower ourselves to make decisions for ourselves from the place of self-love and self-care rather than fear. Start small by first starting to connect to your breath, then your body, and your food. Small actions accumulate to create a compound effect.