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5 Benefits of Mindful Eating

5 Benefits of Mindful Eating

I have been researching mindfulness a lot as well as incorporating a variety of formal and informal mindfulness practices. What I have discovered is that mindfulness really works when it is used consistently. Formal practices include mindfulness meditation and various forms of yoga. Informal practice can include a multitude of daily actions that perhaps you mindlessly do every day such as brushing teeth, washing dishes, driving, and eating.

It is unfortunate that life passes by so many people without them realizing what happened; their minds are insistently focused on other things besides what is occurring right now. They fail to live in the present moment. Mindfulness helps you appreciate the present moment and flourish in it. It arms you with the ability to “be” in this moment as opposed to constantly feeling pressured to “do” in another one.

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This article will concentrate on mindful eating as one beneficial mindfulness practice. Eating is something you need to survive, but unfortunately for many people, it becomes an automated task. Without awareness poor eating habits can be created, which in turn, can cause a negative relationship to be formed with the food you eat. Mindful eating will shift your perspective about eating; instead of eating out of merely need and automation, you will begin to relish eating more and being grateful for the ability and opportunity to do so.

1. Enhances Senses

Mindful eating enhances all of your senses not just your taste buds. Mindful living is about engaging and observing your sensory experiences in the moment. Before you eat take the time to engage all of your senses. If possible observe what your food looks like. Notice the colors and patterns of the food you are about to consume. Touch your food and notice the various textures. Listen to your food to see if it makes any unusual sounds. For example, raisins make a crinkling noise when you put your ear up to them. Smell your food and notice how your salivary glands react to this sensation. Finally begin to eat and focus your attention on the sensations you experience while chewing your food slowly. Taking the time to stimulate all of yours senses might be something you take for granted anyway. Eating mindfully is an advantageous way to incorporate this into your field of awareness.

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As you practice mindful eating and learn how to enhance your sense, you will most likely notice a shift in how you live your life. Hopefully you will embrace the sense of freedom that allows you to live more presently and fully.

2. Savor the Flavor

I have been a major culprit in the past of inhaling my food and not enjoying the taste of it. This is especially apparent after exercise when my body is craving nourishment. I often don’t have the patience to eat slowly because my only objective is to fill up with as much food as quickly as possible. I don’t suggest utilizing this habit of eating. Eating is supposed to be a gratifying experience. How can you savor the food you are eating and truly taste it if you are concentrated on merely shoving as much as you can down your gullet? Chew slowly. Observe what the food feels like in your mouth. Put your fork, knife or spoon down from time to time while you are eating so you can be completely present with what you are doing.

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Also, if possible, refrain from watching T.V. or reading your phone or even talking. Place all of your attention on eating. I think you will notice that food has never tasted so delicious. When you place all of your awareness and attention on eating you begin to form a more appreciative relationship with the food you eat. It is not just about satisfying your desire to eat because you will start to feel grateful for what you are eating and the people who helped make that possible.

3. Eat Smaller Portions

Eating healthily is about eating the necessary sized portion. Many people overeat as a result of not paying attention to what they are eating and how much food they consume. They eat unconsciously not noticing how much they are consuming. By eating mindfully you will only eat until you have had your fill. You will begin to observe the feelings of being satisfied. You will know when you have had enough to eat because you are consciously paying attention to what you are doing. When you consume your food mindfully and slowly there is no need to stuff yourself. You will gain awareness of your bodily sensations and you will understand the signs of being sated more clearly.

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4. Live With a Healthy Weight

Mindful eating helps with portion control. Controlling your portions ensures you will eat only as much as your body requires. Many people eat as a coping mechanism for stress, depression, or grief. They eat even though they aren’t hungry. Eating mindfully helps you eat the right amount every time you consume food. If you are overweight, over time, portion control will help you lose unnecessary weight. As you continue to eat mindfully, you will be able to keep the weight off and live with a healthy and fulfilled body. Paying attention to the sensations from your body is vitally important. Only through mindful eating can you really gain a sense of being full. Your mind may try to convince you otherwise, but only your body will know if you have eaten enough or not.

5. Live Presently

So what is mindfulness really about? Why is eating mindfully so important and necessary to a happy existence? Practicing mindfulness becomes habitual. Just as your negative habits cause you to feel lousy at times, building beneficial habits can help your quality of life increase. Mindful eating is one merely one way you can invigorate your life with contentment and joy. You only experience this because you learn how to be in the present moment, disregarding the constant thoughts that arise about the past and the future.

As I stated previously, eating is something many people take for granted. You might eat but do you really enjoy the experience? How often do you eat without doing anything else? How often are you present with your food? Your well-being is dependent on your ability to be present with whatever you are doing. Practicing mindful eating promotes your ability to live in the moment. This is crucial because this is what life is all about! Enjoying the moment to moment experiences without giving validation to the judgments or negative thoughts swirling around in your mind. There are many mindfulness practices you can undertake that will assist in living more presently. I think eating mindfully is one the most effective practices you can learn. You probably won’t be able to eat every meal mindfully in the beginning, but with practice it will become easier and more enjoyable.

Featured photo credit: My Fitness Pal via 1y2u3hx8yml32svgcf0087imj-wpengine.netdna-ssl.com

More by this author

Mike Oppland

Mike is the Creator of Carpe Diem Motivation. He aspires to inspire individuals who are seeking a little extra boost in their lives.

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Last Updated on July 8, 2020

18 Benefits of Journaling That Will Change Your Life

18 Benefits of Journaling That Will Change Your Life

The act of writing in a journal often seems daunting or unnecessary to many people. Even authors who work on novels might shun the idea of daily diaries. What purpose does jotting down words on a regular basis do if not contributing to the next novel, play or song? I know from experience many benefits of journaling that I wish to share.

1. Understand Yourself Better

Though many people and even writers avoid keeping journals, I vow to do it more often. Not only do I desire to take up daily journaling but also I plan to do it with pen to paper.

Some of the benefits I’ve found from my more active days include finding myself in the sense of understanding what matters to me and what I want out of life. I’ve been incredibly fortunate to find a spouse who is my best friend and advocate in raising children. I attribute this and much more to what I learned about myself in keeping journals for years.

2. Keep Track of Small Changes

I’ll admit that I never got very far with my guitar lessons, but in writing in a journal, I have seen the ability to track small changes like those that come when you practice anything.

Those learning a musical instrument often fail to see the small improvements that come with regular practice. Writing won’t help you switch chords any faster, but it will help you to develop a better sense for language and grammar just by doing it.

3. Become Aware of What Matters

As you continue to write in a journal, following a stream-of-consciousness feel, you can look back on the topics that you chose to write about. Those issues and emotions that poured out of you will provide insight on to what matters most to you.

You may not even realize that you’re job is depressing you or that you want to spend more time with your kids until you look over your thoughts that you weren’t really thinking about.

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4. Boost Creativity

The idea that the brain and its neural activity across hemispheres encourages learning also shows up in increased creativity. Just like with learning an instrument, your increased activity will inspire your thoughts to connect and reconnect in different ways.

When I wrote in a journal, I often wrote poetry as well as just my thoughts as they came out. I started to hear poems more in my mind; so much so that I took to scrawling lines on napkins and finding metaphors in mundane activities.

You really are what you do, so writing helps grow more than being a writer. Writing boosts the way you communicate and structure language, which really is a creative process.

5. Represents Your Emotions in a Safe Environment

A journal is as private as it gets. You can lock it in a safe or tuck it under a pillow and no one will accidentally share it on social media or have an opportunity to “leave a comment.”

Write about your sorrow as much as your happiness and frustration and know that you don’t have to keep your emotions inside your body. You can put them on paper.

6. Process Life Experiences

When you take the time to look back over what you’ve written, be it a week or a year later, you will have the distance you need to more objectively interpret your raw feelings.

Everything from losing a job to losing a loved one can emerge in a new light for a fresh perspective. Figuring out how the benefits of journaling affect your perspective on life will create connection and increase creativity.

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7. Stress Relief

In combining the exercise inherent in fine motor coordination that comes from the act of writing with the emotional release of self expression, those who maintain a journal relieve stress.

Try it out. Go home and write about your day. Write about the traffic. Write about the coffee order the barista got wrong but you didn’t have time to change. See how you can physically purge some of that pent-up stress by putting it on paper.

8. Provide Direction

Though journaling is often conducted as an activity without much direction, it often provides direction.

One of the biggest benefits of journaling is that your chaotic thoughts merge to show a direction in which to head. Asking the right questions is the only way to achieve the best solutions, so look to your journal to find your way toward your next goal.

9. Solve Problems

Just as in practicing math problems, we all get better at finding hidden solutions through the act of processing.

Think of your next goal as X and solve your life problems by reading your journals as word problems. The benefit of journaling here is that you write, explore and process to recognize and then solve problems.

When life is too in-your-face, you have to step back to see reality. Living in the moment allows us to write in the moment and use that expression to solve problems.

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10. Find Relief From Fighting

Solving your problems only comes after time to process, recognize and strategize. Just as in the benefit of journaling where relief comes from the act of writing, relief from fighting comes when you decide to “sit this one out” and communicate one-way.

Fighting is only productive when the fighters care to communicate and find common ground. When the emotions are as high as the stress levels, writing will function as the best time out.

11. Find Meaning in Life

Journaling will show you why you are living, whether you are wallowing in things you wish to change or striving to make the changes. Your life will begin to take on new meaning and your own words will reveal the actions that got you where you are so that you can assess and pave a new path for your future.

12. Allow Yourself to Focus

Taking even a small amount of time out of every day will provide you with not only peace of mind but also increased focus. Taking a break to meditate in writing and journaling will sharpen your mental faculties.

13. Sharpen Your Spirituality

When we write, we allow all the energy and experiences to flow through us, which often provides further insight into our own spirituality. Even if your parents didn’t raise you to follow a specific religion, your thoughts will start to show you what you believe about the universe and your place in it.

14. Let the Past Go

I’ve mentioned a few examples where going back over your writing offers advice and direction, but the simply truth is that writing down our feelings can be the best way to let them go. We can choose to literally throw these pages away when they’re filled with negativity and hate.

15. Allow Freedom

Journaling is the perfect way to not only express yourself but to also experience the freedom of being who you are. Your books can stay private or you can publish them. Your freedom stems from your sense of self and your perception of your thoughts.

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16. Enhance Your Career

Again, the private act of pen-to-paper processing provides the benefits of journaling mentioned above, but you can also enhance your career when you take similar ideas and categorize, edit and publish them in an online blog.

Your thoughts will often be personal and express emotions, but another benefit of journaling is uncovering fresh ideas about your work.

17. Literally Explore Your Dreams

All the benefits I’ve mentioned explore ideas, thoughts and emotions, which is also what our dreams and nightmares do. Through writing down your dreams from the previous night, you can enhance your creativity as well as connect some of the metaphorical dots from the rest of your journal.

18. Catalog Your Life for Others

No one wants to think about dying, but we all die. Leaving a journal will act as a way to reconnect with family and friends left behind. The ideas you wish to keep personal while you process the life you’re living will serve to rekindle and inspire those who loved you through the process.

We consider our partners our life witnesses, but writing provides a tangible mark on the world.

Now that you’ve learned all the benefits of journaling, it’s time to start writing a journal:

Featured photo credit: Kelly Sikkema via unsplash.com

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