A Mindful Time of Year
By Unite Fitness Retreat Dietician, Brooke Bouwhuis
Reduce stress, anxiety and depression while improving concentration, patience, curiosity and tranquility. Did you know this can be done without drugs, alcohol or sugar laden calories?
Including a practice of mindfulness is exactly how we do all of those things without drugs. Engaging in the present moment and in so doing improve our own well-being. Oh and this is the best part, there is no therapist fee either. You can do this all on your own. If you think it is hippy voodoo, consider plunking “mindfulness” into pubmed.gov and see for yourself how powerful this process is as you see how it’s used in peer reviewed scientific studies.
We are a culture surrounded with portable devices and electronics which keep us connected; But connected to who or what? Marketing for products that adversely affect our health? Better relationships with real people? More satisfaction with life? These devices alone aren’t horrible but our reliance on their value and purpose in our lives often disconnect us from everyday reality.
To change your life, being with your mind. Mindfulness builds a foundation of less avoidance and healthier coping skills. \This process can be used with exercise, our behavior at an ill-timed stop light and even food.
Mindful eating is key in gaining control over your true feelings of hunger, fullness, satisfaction – all essential to being aware in the situation but approaching it without criticism or judgement. Paying attention to eating by noticing texture, color, smell and sound of food but also paying attention to the body and your level of hunger, mood and emotion you may feel.
Occasionally, we do this mindful eating exercise at Unite Fitness Retreat with a mandarin orange. Guide your friends and family through this process at your next holiday gathering and see what it reveals and what conversations take place.
Mandarain Orange Mindfulness Exercise
- Eliminate distractions – no cell phones, tv’s or music
- Hold the orange in your hand and look at like you have never looked at it before. Look at the color, feel the texture, notice the stem end and the blossom end.
- Smell the orange, rub it and smell again. Hold it to your ear, does it make a sound? Gently squeeze it, notice any sound?
- Peel the orange. Notice the sound and the smell. How does it feel? What do you smell? What did you hear?
- Once peeled look closely. Notice the veins and where the stem was once attached
- Break the orange open, what sound does it make?
- Take an individual segment and break it in half. Watch the juice spray. Notice juice packets.
- Slowly bring the orange to your mouth and notice how your mouth begins to water. Let the orange lie on your tongue before you bite it, explore how it feels.
- Bite down and notice the taste of the orange. Notice how the texture changes as you chew it.
- How hungry are you now that you have enjoyed the orange? How has this been different from when you eat without a practice of mindfulness?
- Were you surprised about what you noticed about the orange? Did it trigger any memories?
To change your life, you must begin with your mind – The journey is different for everyone but a journey worth taking to help uncover your true potential.