We are offering a weekly blog series with a collection of diverse and effective coping techniques and exercises that can help reduce stress, improve mental and emotional well-being, and perhaps make you even more effective in achieving your individual goals. Check back every Wednesday for the newest skill of the week. Try them all out and find what works best for you.
This week, Dr. Courtney Klein recommends trying 5 Sense Mindful Eating: This exercise is about using observation and centering yourself as you eat. Mindful eating is a simple way to reduce stress and help yourself to calm and focus your body and mind. It can be used with any food, and will only take a few minutes.
Start with a small piece of food, such as a raisin, a piece of fruit, or a square of cheese, any bite of food will work for this exercise.
Beginning with your sight, start by looking at the food and exploring it from various angles. Notice the color, shape, and texture. Next use your sense of touch, close your eyes, and explore the food with your fingertips. Notice what the food feels like. Is it hard or soft? Sticky? Juicy? Dry?
Next, concentrate on the scent. Then, slowly take your first bite and pay attention to the little details as you taste and then chew. Notice the texture of the food and how it feels on your tongue. Notice the flavor of the food and how it might change. Maintain your awareness of these sensations, taking at least 20 seconds to finish this first bite of food. As you continue to eat, notice the various sensations such as the taste, feel of the food in your mouth, changing of flavors, and the sensations of swallowing. Do this throughout your meal for a deep, and relaxing experience.