How often do you eat your breakfast and skim through your Instagram feed; mindlessly eat lunch at your desk, or sit in front of the TV while eating dinner?
We’re all guilty of it.
We all mindlessly eat.
Sure, we might think the food we’re eating is delicious, but it’s so rare that we really feel the texture of the foods in our mouth, think about the flavours and enjoy every bite. Sometimes we don’t even cue into how full we’re feeling until we’re uncomfortably stuffed. Sometimes eating is just another item on our to-do list.
It can be really hard to focus all our attention into every single bite, taste and texture of our food, but as the saying goes “practice makes perfect” and learning mindful eating is a great way to become mindful in other aspects of life. The ‘Raisin Exercise/Meditation’ is the perfect exercise to learn how to mindfully eat, as it’s an exercise to help you zone into one thing…a raisin!
If you despise raisins, find something else (that is edible). It could be a chocolate chip, an almond…a blueberry. Whatever works for you.
To begin, get your raisin (or alternative) and sit in a quiet spot, perhaps alone at the kitchen table. Practice each exercise item for at least one minute…and if another thought wanders into your mind, recognize the thought but then place it aside and get back to the raisin.
1. Hold the raisin. Hold the raisin in the palm of your hand. Can you feel the tiny object in the middle of your hand? Just let it sit there and focus on what it feels like to just hold it.
2. Look at the raisin. Place it in the middle of your hand and stare at it. What do you notice about it? Move it around and look at all of the angles and curves.
3. Touch the raisin. Move the raisin in your hand with your fingers and hold it between your finger and thumb. Squish it, roll it around. Just think about how it feels. Does it feel wrinkly? Soft? Squishy? I bet you’ve never put so much attention into this shriveled up grape.
4. Smell the raisin. Do raisins have any smell to them? Maybe if you focus hard enough you will be able to smell something!
5. Place the raisin to your lips and feel what it’s like against them. Then, slowly place it on your tongue and let it sit there. Move it around your mouth. I bet you’ve never had a random raisin just chilling in your mouth before. Zone into what that feels like.
6. Taste the raisin. Enjoy the flavour and really think about what you’re tasting. It is sour? Sweet? Tart?
7. Swallow the raisin. Think about your intention to swallow and imagine that little raisin travelling down your throat and through your GI tract.
8. Reflect about your experience. I’m sure it was a bit weird focusing all your attention on that one little raisin. But how did you feel? Were you able to fully zone in on each step? Did you think about anything else?
I’ve done this meditation/exercise a few times and I always feel super calm afterwards. It’s a great practice to zone in on the present moment and to think about the various steps that go into eating – and nothing else. It’s a reminder that eating should be enjoyed and not done in a rushed state. Of course we aren’t going to place that much focus into eating a steak dinner with family, but it’s a reminder to just be in the moment.
It’s a reminder to enjoy the present and to experience each moment with full attention, just like you were when focusing your attention on that raisin.