What is mindfulness?
Right now, it seems that everyone is talking about mindfulness, but does anyone actually know what it means? Mindfulness is a technique derived from Buddhist philosophy that can be used to improve wellbeing. It involves being consciously present in the moment – being fully aware of what is happening within and outside of yourself and accepting it without judgement.
We asked Adrianna to tell us about the concept of ‘mindful eating’, a technique addressed during a Health Coaching session at the clinic. Here is what she had
[blockquote]Mindful eating is about becoming aware of what you eat and when you eat. It’s about being really present. If we were to take the time to think about how we eat and when we eat, a lot of us would realise that we tend to operate on autopilot.[/blockquote]
Asking ourselves questions about why we do what we do is one of the keys to living mindfully.
Sometimes we may eat because we’re hungry, however, at other times we may eat from boredom, or out of a sense of obligation at social gatherings. We could be using food to avoid emotions — to stuff things down literally with the food. Until we become aware and mindful as to why we are eating, it is very hard to make changes to our eating habits.
The first key to mindfulness is gaining knowledge about what you are eating. When you shop for groceries, consider, ‘What am I actually selecting?’. Try to avoid shopping when you are in a rush, or hungry, otherwise you are at risk of choosing whatever colourful, well packaged food catches your eye. Instead, stop to think, ‘Is this going to nourish me well?’, before you put that item in your shopping trolley. Initiating positive changes in your life can be that simple – taking a moment to stop and think. It’s about choosing food that is going to nourish you. These are your building blocks, so fill your trolley with healthy choices.
When you are ready to eat, place the food on your plate so you can see what you are about to consume. How is your portion size? What is the company like? What is on your mind while you are eating? Are you working at your computer with a packet of chips at hand? Do you consume food constantly while watching television and emotionally engaged with your favourite programmes? Has eating become a background activity in your life?
Mindful eating is about being aware of what and how you are eating. It’s about connecting with and enjoying your food and the process of eating. Focus on chewing slowly, tasting each flavour in your food and noticing all the nuances in the cooking.
Challenge yourself to examine your personal eating habits. Are they as healthy as they could be?
“Until we become aware and mindful as to why we are eating, it is very difficult to make changes to our eating habits.”