Given that today is one of my favorite holidays, but also a day when I and so many others will consume liberal amounts of candy, I thought it appropriate to post an exercise on mindful eating that one can use with candy.
It can be done with almost any food, though traditionally the exercise is taught using a raisin (and, believe it or not, the exercise works better if you dislike what you're eating). Since it's Halloween, let's bust out the Sour Patch Kids or Milky Way Ghosts or Candy Corn and savor versus inhaling in a zombie-like brainless state!
- First, take the candy and hold it in the palm of your hand, in the wrapper. Notice the colors of the wrapper, the texture, the way the light may hit the wrapper. Look at the wrapper like you’ve never seen it before in your life, really inspect it.
- Slowly open the wrapper. Notice if you start to salivate, notice any scent that emanates from the package, any sound it makes. Hold a piece of the candy in your palm without touching it or probing it with your fingers.
- Take some time to really inspect the candy, one piece at a time. Use careful and full attention. Notice the bumps or smooth areas, notice the texture, and notice any unique features.
- Now turn the candy over between your fingers and feel the texture, maybe with your eyes closed and using your non-dominant hand if that enhances your sense of touch.
- Hold the candy just below your nose and with each inhale, notice what happens internally in your body, such as salivating, or recalling a memory associated with this smell. Allow the memory or sensation to float by and pass, without dwelling on it.
- Now bring the candy to your lips, and notice how your hand and arm know exactly where to position it. Gently place the object into your mouth without chewing, having awareness of your teeth and jaw opening. Without chewing, roll the candy around in your mouth, noticing how different the texture feels from when it was in your hand.
- When you’re ready, take one or two sloooow bites and notice what happens, experiencing any waves of taste that occur as you chew. Continue chewing slowly and mindfully, detecting any changes in taste and texture.
- When you feel ready to swallow, see if you can first detect the intention to swallow as it comes up, so that even this is experienced consciously before you actually swallow the candy.
- Finally, see if you can feel any sensations of the candy working its way to your stomach. Notice any lingering textures or flavors in your mouth.
- How did it feel to eat mindfully?