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In my coaching work, many of my clients mention that it’s tough to find time for mindful meditation each day. I feel the same way. There’s always an excuse at the end of the day when somehow we lose the energy for this highly valuable activity. There is, however, something we do every day which we can use as a useful mindfulness and energy hack.
It’s not uncommon for us to eat lunch in front of the computer. Sadly eating on the run is also not uncommon. I start to wonder if we really know what they are eating. Many people often reach for a snack bar or a packet of crisps (potato chips to our friends from the US) straight after their sandwich. Unfortunately, there wasn’t enough time for the brain to receive a signal from the stomach that they are full and the extra calories are unnecessary. We eat but we are preoccupied with social media, checking emails and other tasks. This is mindless eating and a bad habit.
So how do we eat mindfully? There is no right or wrong way but mindfully observing your meal, and enjoying each bite is an excellent way to eat less, because it encourages us to mindfully valuing what we are eating.
Start by observing the flow of a few deep breaths, then turn the focus of your attention to your food. As you put each bite into your mouth and begin to chew, take note of the texture, the sound and taste. Finally, once you’ve swallowed your food, take a moment to observe the taste in your throat, valuing and savouring the flavour.
I do this exercise to get my 20 minutes of daily mindfulness in and it can be done with a premium latte too. We spend so much on our Starbucks but we rarely take the time to enjoy the drink as much as we could.
Chewing food well is one of the changes you will notice. The benefits of chewing well are countless. It encourages the production of digestive enzymes, makes jaw muscles move and turning food more palatable. Researches show that chewing well increased perceived fullness. In a clinical pilot study ‘MEAL (Mindful Eating and Living) a significant change in weight, eating behaviour and physical distress was seen in participants who ate mindfully.
A small bite at a time makes you chew better and using chopsticks (or ha-shi as they are called here in Tokyo) to eat is another excellent mindful eating technique. The chopsticks make you take smaller bites of food and is more precise than shovelling with a fork.
On that note, one more hack is a chopstick rest. The real purpose of a chopstick rest is that it’s more hygienic than placing them directly on the table. As the name suggests you can ‘rest’ chopsticks between bites. It helps you to eat slowly and mindfully. Take time, slow down and enjoy your food!
Mindfulness is an excellent way to increase focus and mental energy and forms a big part of my coaching work with clients. Getting the time to meditate can, however, be challenging, so I recommend eating one mindful meal or drinking one mindful drink per day to get yours in too.
Contact me for more information about skype coaching or in person coaching and how I can help you to break through.
Tokyo, August 2017