So many of us are running around in the hustle and bustle of our daily routines, not giving much thought to everyday tasks. Learning how to practice mindfulness in all areas of our lives can help bring more happiness, joy, and meaning to our lives.

One of those areas that we can incorporate mindfulness is eating. When is the last time you truly enjoyed a meal? Mindful eating is about using mindfulness to reach a state of full attention to your experiences, cravings, and physical cues when eating.

We eat because we are conditioned to whether it’s driven by emotion or simply because “it’s time” for lunch. When we eat mindfully, we bring awareness to why we are eating and the physical cues of hunger and fullness. We get rid of distractions, such as our phones and tv, and shift our attention back to appreciating food and the understanding of why we are eating.

Here is a brief exercise to get you started. Practice this occasionally to remind yourself to slow down and be present.

  1. Before starting, remove all distractions. Turn off or silence your devices. This allows you to take the time to relax and enjoy your food without interruption.
  2. Explore how you are feeling. Are you hungry, thirsty, tired, angry? Clear your head and allow yourself to focus on what’s in front of you.
  3. Explore the food with as many senses as possible. Look at the food and notice the color and texture. What does the food feel like? Is it grainy, soft, sticky? What do you notice when smelling the food?
  4. Begin eating. Chewing slowly, notice the sensation of the physical act of chewing and tasting. Notice the texture of the food in your mouth and the intensity of flavors.
  5. After swallowing, sense how your body feels as a whole.

By taking moments to pause and experience our meals, we are able to turn off autopilot thinking and be fully present. It allows us to truly savor our food and those we are sharing it with.