Joanne Hird, MA, LAC
Special to Horizons

“Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend.” – Melody Beattie

As we approach Thanksgiving and the “serial eating Holiday time”, it is instructive to take a look at our gratitude and how we can use this in concert with a mindfulness practice. When is the best time to bring mindfulness into your day aside from saying, “anytime,” a great way to integrate mindfulness is with something we all have to do – eat! Best of all, this helps reduce the stress of the holidays.

Bringing mindfulness to eating can help you expand your relationship with food, while allowing you to appreciate, savor and bring a whole lot of enjoyment to your meals. It is also such a rich tradition this time of year, but can also be a way to curb weight gain.

Try these three mindful tips. In practice, these tips only take a minute or two of your time before a meal—well worth the sense of enjoyment they bring. Also, bringing these three mindful tips into eating all the home baked goodies and delicious snacks we have this time of year. When you sit down to your food:

1. Take it in with your eyes: In your mind, be grateful for this food. As soon as you get your food take in the sight of it, the colors, the shapes, the textures if it is finger food.

2. Take in the aromas: Take a few deep inhales of the smell of the food. Breathe in. Breathe out. Experience and be grateful for these aromas for a moment. What do these aromas mean to you?

3. Sense the interconnection: The third thing, and perhaps one of the most important things, is take a moment to think about everything that went into producing that food in front of you: the people, the nature, the rain, the sun, the earth, including who purchased it. Sense that interconnection between what is there in front of you with all that’s involved in getting your food to you. Be grateful for all of it.

4. Savor what arises. See if what arises is a natural sense of appreciation and gratitude and if so allow yourself to savor that feeling for a few moments, and then take your first bite.

5. Connect with every mouthful: Chew each bite completely. Notice everything about each bite with each of your sense.

Behold…you will become full more quickly!

So a mindfulness and gratitude practice serves two purpose through the holidays. Reducing stress and curbing weight gain! It’s a win win with little downside.

Parts taken from Elisha Goldstein’s article in 3 Mindful Things to Do When You Eat

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