This section will be dedicated to an ongoing look at simple ways to incorporate mindfulness in your everyday life. Over the course of several newsletters you will have a set of tools to pull out to create a healthier environment within you. One way to facilitate use of the exercises will be to focus on one for the next 2 months and really become fluent in it. Then you can move on in the succession of exercises that can build on each other.
What is mindfulness? Mindfulness in simplified terms is learning to be present in the current moment. Why would one want to do this? The list of benefits is very long but here are a few:
- Decreasing Anxiety
- Ability to make conscious choices
- Helps to reduce addictive patterns
- Changes your relationship with negative thoughts
- Allows you tune into answers from within
- Increases your sense of peace in the world
If you missed the first exercise on the 3 minute breathe, please feel free to go back and look at http://www.karunacounseling.com/mindfulness1.html
Benefits may include:
- Becoming more conscious of what you eat.
- More enjoyment of your food.
- Increased concentration.
- Increased ability to stay in the present moment.
- Better ability to monitor food intake.
- During meals.
- Deciding if you are hungry.
- Letting your body inform you of what it is craving (verses your mind or habit dictating).
Any combination of the above will teach your system that mindfulness is readily available. John Kabat-Zinn teaches that if you were jumping out of an airplane, you wouldn’t sew the parachute on the way down. You would instead, sew it ahead of time so that it would be in good shape when you need it. The best way to have mindfulness be something that you automatically reach for is to practice it as much as possible. You may want to leave reminders for yourself to do the exercise, such as, post its or putting it in your calendar.
Part one and two below may be used together or separate depending on your goal.
Basic Instruction for Mindful Eating
- Begin by sitting in an upright position with your feet on the ground and your spine straight.
- Take 2-3 breaths and relax into your body.
- Bring your attention to your belly and check in to see if you are physically hungry. You may find the urge to eat, but it could be an emotional hunger.
- Ask your body internally or out loud, “What am I hungry for.” You may get a response from the mind, so check it out by imagining your self eating that food. You may try a few foods to see what feels like the best fit. You will find that the more you do this, the more your body will truly guide you to eating what it needs verses what you want.
Follow 1 and 2 above if you are just doing part two and then continue below.
- Start by looking at your food like you have never seen it before. Look at the colors, texture, proportions, where it is on the plate and notice the smell.
- Notice any judgments that the mind makes and let them go without attaching to them as true. Almost like a child who is being introduced to it for the first time.
- Slowly take it to your mouth and stop right before it goes into your mouth. Notice the anticipation of the food.
- Now place it in your mouth and chew very slowly, holding an air of curiosity. Notice the texture and the tastes.
- Notice how you know when it is time to swallow and then swallow the food.
- Put your utensil back down and notice what it is like to be one bite fuller.
- Continue on through the meal at a slow and conscious state noticing what feelings, sensations, and judgments come up.
That is it!
Food and eating can stir up a lot of emotions, so you may want to journal about them, or if they get to intense, call your therapist for guidance. Enjoy a new way to look at food and allow a newfound choice about your eating.
If you have more questions feel free to contact me at
404-818-6114 or at
Keep your eyes out for a 4 series class after the New Year to learn how to use mindfulness to prevent the recurrence of depression.