What is Mindfulness?
Mindfulness is an ability we all possess and can cultivate.
It means deliberately paying attention. It is being fully aware in the present, to what is happening both inside us, on a physical, mental and emotional level. As well as outside us, in our environment.
Mindfulness is awareness without criticism or judgement.
When we are just aware we create a space that enables us to not act automatically but instead step back and make different choices.
Zen master Thich Nhat Hanh calls Mindfulness a miracle. And it can just be that as its benefits are nothing short of a miracle and uncountable. Some of them according to a review by the American Psychologist Association are:
- (dis)stress reduction;
- memory boost;
- increased focus;
- increased relationship satisfaction; and
- improved immune function.
What is Mindful Eating?
It is a skill that anyone can develop.
Mindful Eating, or ME is rooted in Mindfulness. In ancient Buddhist traditions, teachers used to encourage their students to be mindful in all aspects of life, eating being just one of them.
ME is not about deprivation, instead it can be seen as the Anti-Diet!
When we eat mindfully we are fully present with our meal. We pay attention to it with all our five physical senses. We are also aware of what we think and feel while we eat as well as to our environment.
We don’t judge ourselves and how we respond to food, we only notice what is happening (inside and outside of us.)
Eating mindfully includes understanding our different levels of satiety, we begin to naturally learn when our bodies want and need food and when they want and need to be empty.
We learn about the various kinds of hunger, for instance physical or emotional hunger so we know when we need to eat and when we need something different than food.
It can enable us to experience the full pleasure of what food has to offer and can connect us to an overall sense of Gratitude!