The mainstream press has caught on… articles, studies, special reports, even entire magazines are touting the many heath benefits that come with the practice of mindfulness. Mindfulness not only adds much joy and satisfaction to life, it also has been shown to improve our health and wellbeing.
So how does one effectively use mindfulness in the face of the hectic modern world?
The key is practice. One opportunity to practice mindfulness is with each meal. Mindful eating is a beautiful way to cultivate greater joy and peace of mind. And mindfulness helps us make choices that resonate with greater wellbeing for ourselves, for our families, for our communities, for future generations, and for the earth.
When we eat mindlessly, we can often make destructive choices that undermine health and wellness. Indeed, much of the food that comes to us today is produced in a destructive way that creates harm to other beings or to the planet itself. When we eat mindfully, we can make choices that promote equality, peace, and sustainability and eat in a way that reduces suffering in our own lives and in the world.
Although there are likely many more, I have found three reasons why the practice of mindful eating is an excellent way to bring more mindfulness into life.
- First, we all have to eat – approximately three times a day for most of us. When we practice mindful eating at each meal, this helps us to become more effective at mindfulness and more grounded in our lives.
- Second, it is incredibly easy to eat mindlessly and thus miss most of the beauty.
- Third, eating connects us powerfully to our bodies, to others who share in our world, and to the planet that sustains us.
And mindful eating is simple. Instead of letting your mind carry you away with worrying, thinking, or planning, mindful eating is about being present to the food before you, to the place where you are, and to those who are sharing in your meal.
Here are three simple steps to focus on that can help you practice mindful eating:
- Breath: Before eating, allow yourself the gift of a few deep breaths.
- Joy in the Present Moment: Regard the food before you and all the elements, all the hard work, and all the conditions that brought the food here to your plate. Smile.
- Gratitude: Allow yourself to connect to a sense of gratitude for this food, for this body, and for this opportunity to be alive.
When we are mindful, we are more likely to choose real foods that help to create greater wellness in our bodies. Real food connects us to the earth and to all beings. We can realize that we are not separate and isolated. We are a part of it all. The air we breathe, the water we drink, the food we eat – this all supports and sustains us. Each day we come into intimate contact with the greater world through our food as it becomes a part the very fabric of our being.
If you would like to receive support for a 30-day practice of mindful eating, you are welcome receive daily mindfulness email messages by signing up here. There is no cost or commitment. This is simply an offering to bring you daily mindfulness reminders to support your practice of mindfulness.