Do you have any mealtime traditions or habits? Are you eating automatically, on the go or in front of your computer most of the times? There is evidence showing that eating mindfully and developing positive habits around how and where you eat can improve your health, general well being and even your relationships.
Apart from cultural and symbolic meaning of food rituals, there is an important emotional and psychological connection between the way we eat and how happy we feel. While eating on the run can satisfy our hunger and support our bodies, having a proper sit-down meal in a nice environment with people we love can truly nourish our souls.
More practical advantages of building mindful eating habits include reduced overeating, improved digestion and increased enjoyment of food. As noted by The Center for Mindful Eating, “People often discover that the flavor of common foods can be transformed by bringing a mindfulness practice to the meal.”
Below are a few ideas of how you can start being more mindful about your meals and improve your quality of life in this way.
“Growing research suggests that distraction while eating prevents a person from enjoying the bite in the mouth. Coined “mindless eating,” this innocent behavior has been linked to overeating, stress and increased anxiety.”
So do yourself a favor – switch off TV and put away all your digital devices while you are eating. It is better to focus solely on the food, but having some background music for added ambience is fine too.
Set up the table
There is a reason why restaurants invest in decoration of the place and food presentation. Eating amazing-looking food in a beautiful environment adds pleasure and satisfaction to the experience.
So don’t skip this at home – use your best cutlery and plates, decorate and present your dishes in beautiful ways, add candles and flowers to the table, invest in nice linen. Life is too short to have beautiful meals only on special occasions and holidays.
Enjoy the company
Eat with family and friends whenever you have a chance, as it improves relationships and general sense of well-being when you share your meal with others. But make sure that you only have positive conversations during the meal – discussing problems, criticizing and complaining will ruin the experience. Keep the atmosphere light and cheerful, and you will enjoy both body nourishment and emotional healing.
Cook your own food
It sounds daunting for people with high-paced lives, but cooking your own fresh meals from scratch has amazing benefits. It can help you reconnect with present moment, relax and recharge, plus food that is freshly cooked is more nutritious than processed or pre-made one. Also try cooking in a good mood and with positive thoughts, as the food will absorb this energy and it will be passed on to everyone you share the meal with later on, improving their mood too.
Do you have any mealtime rituals or eating habits that help you being focused and enjoy your food? Share them in the comments!