In this Article we are going to read about 8 Tips to Add Mindfulness to Your Mealtime.
I watch, transfixed, as brilliant saffron yellow swirls into creamy white meal.
Then I apply a rusty shade and a splash of maroon. The colors combine into a pigment-dusted tie-dye, and I remember how much it looks like the milky way.
No, I’m not a painter. I’m preparing a meal.
Making your next meal, for example, can become an excuse to calm down and savor the moment, but maintaining this kind of relationship with your food isn’t always easy.
Like many busy mothers, I can’t wait to have those onions browned and the next ingredient in the skillet.
Despite my best efforts, there are moments when I can’t say no to the microwave or the pre-mixed spice packet.
And when things get hectic, I search for ways to incorporate mindfulness into my cooking routine.
After all, if you’re going to do something three times a day, you may as well enjoy yourself!
Here are some tips to put the world on hold and make your meals a little more mindful.
In the past, I’d get excited about preparing my next meal and concoct a multi-course meal.
Nearly every time, something went wrong.
Sometimes, prep took longer than expected and I ended up serving my meal 3 hours late. In other cases, I failed to time things properly and my main dish got cold while waiting for the sides to cook.
Other times, things got spilled, oversalted, or burned (myself included).
To remedy this, I keep it simple.
I’d rather make one dish well and with presence than get a table setting ready for the next full-page spread in Martha Stewart Living.
Eat the rainbow
Being mindful of the colors of your recipe is a convenient way to spruce up a plain meal and make it a mindful workout.
Eating food that is a monochromatic beige is much less appealing than eating food with a swirl of orange, a splash of red, and a flash of yellow.
Using color in your meals immerses your senses in the moment. Your eyes get to interact with and appreciate the food just as well as your teeth.
Consuming the colors also means that you are receiving a variety of nutrients and phytonutrients.
Take a minute the next time you’re preparing a spinach omelet to notice how pleasing it is to your sense of sight to toss in the bright red of a cherry tomato and the crumbly white of a sliver of feta cheese.
Enjoying the goodness of plain, ordinary stuff is an essential aspect of mindfulness. One way to dull the senses to the sensual pleasures of mealtime is to concentrate on the color of your food.
Learn to love the stir
This is the “wax on, wax off” of cooking.
If you’re moving onions around a skillet, mixing spices into a soup, or whipping cream into a frothy cake topping for the pros, the tedious aspects of cooking are opportunities to sink in, concentrate, and savor.
Sure, it will take you longer than you would want, your arm may be aching, or your child may be wondering for the third time when dinner will be ready.
Instead of giving in to your impatience, use these moments as opportunities to show up and be present.
Inhale the scent of the simmering herbs, sense the warmth of the flame under the pan, or see the bubbles in the water as they slowly rise to a boil.
By giving yourself fully to the task, you can start to take notice of all the little wonders happening underneath the “chore” of cooking.
Mr. Miyagi would be proud.
Feel your body
It is not just the food that requires your attention. Your body is right there with you, allowing you to prepare your meal in the first place.
Take a minute to feel your feet on the floor under you as you stand over your culinary formation. Feel the sit bones in the chair while you’re seated.
Take note of the sense of security that comes from that knowledge. When you cook, pay attention to how you feel in your body.
Is your stomach churning with anticipation? Is your mouth watering with excitement? Is the procedure giving you a warm feeling in your chest?
There’s no right or wrong response. Tuning into your bodily feelings when you cook is just another way to get you into the present moment.
Notice your breathing
Cooking, like being conscious of one’s body, offers an excellent chance to become aware of one’s breath.
I note my breathing is shallow when I’m running through a meal. This is because I am more concerned with the end product than with the procedure.
My breath becomes spacious and rhythmic as I relax and allow myself to sink in. It pervades my whole belly and shoulders, and breathing takes on a delicious consistency.
I observe my inhalation and exhalation, then dissolve the observer in me and actually feel the air as it enters and exits.
You can also align your breath for an action, such as inhaling as you roll your rolling pin to the top of your baking sheet and exhaling as you lower it.
Let time stop
This will necessitate putting aside more time than you currently need so that you are not continuously watching the clock.
You’ll be able to switch from task to task without having to worry about your starving family members twiddling their thumbs and rubbing their feet as you work.
If you’re cooking for yourself, begin long before you’re hungry. When the meal is ready for the table, chances are you’ll be hungry.
When it’s actually time to eat, take your time. Chew your food carefully and methodically so that you can savor each taste and prolong your enjoyment of eating.
Take your time tasting the subtleties of the spices as they touch your palate and smelling the scents as they waft up from the pan.
Invest at least 20 minutes in the eating process, from start to finish.
Set the stage
- Ritualize the process of cooking from beginning to end.
- Start with a bouquet of flowers on the table to bring some visual warmth to the room.
- Bring the sense of hearing into the process by putting on your favorite music and swaying along as you stir.
- Just make sure to keep it low enough that you can hear the food sizzling, bubbling, and coming to life.
These sounds may be considered music in and of themselves, and, as previously said, they help to initiate the digestion process.
Find your flow
Whatever does it for you, let yourself get lost in the process.
In his books “Beyond Boredom and Anxiety” and “Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience,” Hungarian-American psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi defined flow as, “a state of peak enjoyment, energetic focus, and creative concentration experienced by people engaged in adult play, which has become the basis of a highly creative approach to living.”
A 2011 study Trusted Source showed that flow state activities may lead to cognitive improvements in older adults. Another study indicates that flow can result in improved motivation, skill development, and performance.
Csikszentmihalyi’s work has been referenced in more recent research Trusted Source that indicates flow can even be measured with electroencephalogram (EEG), also known as neurofeedback.
By making your cooking a form of play, you just may find yourself triggering a state of flow.
Make it a ritual
Cooking is a great way to exercise mindfulness on a daily basis. Rather than seeing it as a chore, we should see it as an opportunity to become more present.
Any of the most effective practices are those that combine meditation with everyday tasks. They show us how to immerse ourselves in the current moment no matter what we are doing.
One of my favorite Buddhist proverbs advises, “Before enlightenment, chop wood, carry water. After enlightenment, chop wood, carry water.”
It means that involvement should not occur under unusual situations. It arises naturally from the essence and wonder of daily life.
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