In the world today where ‘act now, think later’ seems to have made itself the norm, despite facing its rough consequences time and again, mindfulness seems to be a lost cause. Right from rushing to your phone the moment you hear it go off to being surrounded by distractions every waking minute, we’ve entrapped ourselves in a world where pausing to think, feel and emote consciously in the moment is not given much importance. It’s like the blind leading the blind, where you are told how to live your life to the fullest except we just go in circles with no positive outcome, be it in our behaviour, reactions, mentality and even our physical state.
A country like ours is steeped in scriptures and literature that can provide abundant evidence on the changes that mindfulness and meditation can bring forth. No, don’t worry I am not here to list down all them and bore you. But before you motivate yourselves to set your alarm clocks at 6:00 AM for an hour of mindful meditation only to later disappoint yourself, maybe hang back with me to the end of this piece. Forcing yourself to adapt to the big lifestyle changes can be a bit challenging, but taking baby steps towards your goal and being consistent is the key right? So maybe give your early morning plans a rest and try this small change first: mindful eating.
Jot down these five simple practices to imbibe the habit of conscious eating
Eat slowly Take your time to chew your food thoroughly and enjoy the flavours, textures and aromas of your meal. Eating slowly allows your body to recognize when it's full, reducing the likelihood of overeating.
Eliminate all distractions Turn off the TV, put away your phone and create a peaceful environment during meals. Eliminating distractions allows you to focus solely on the act of eating and enhances the connection with your body's hunger and satiety signals.
Listen to your body Pay attention to your body's hunger and fullness cues. Eat when you're hungry and stop when you're satisfied. Avoid eating out of boredom, stress, or habit and learn to differentiate between physical hunger and emotional cravings.
Mindful portions Mindful eating involves being mindful of portion sizes as well. Choose smaller plates and serve moderate portions to prevent overeating. Remember, you can always go back for more if you're still hungry.
Engage all senses Engage all your senses when eating. Notice the colours, smells and textures of the food. Eating with awareness helps you appreciate your meals more and can lead to a greater sense of satisfaction with smaller amounts of food.
The next time you sit down for a meal, abandon all the activities that you usually engage in (maybe even sit alone for the first few times to really get used to the practice) and try these simple five practices to ensure you are being mindful. I mean, doing so for about 30 minutes, three times a day is a more achievable goal, right?
Natasha Kittur is an aspiring writer. Her love for anything with cheese and spice is profound, but a white sauce pasta always tops her list. In her free time you will catch her reading or watching crime books and shows or go on and on about psychological experiments and theories. She aims to write a book in the fictional genre someday.