Mindful Eating Exercises For Stress Relief

Chocolate is great for mindful eating.
One square of chocolate is the perfect size for mindful eating. Jose Luis Pelaez Inc/Blend Images/Getty Images

There are many benefits of mindful eating, as well as mindfulness in general, and mindful eating exercises are simple to do. Ready to try some new mindful eating exercises for stress relief and weight loss? Here are some strategies that many have found to be effective:

Switch Hands

The mere act of switching hands from your dominant hand to the hand you use less often can transform the feel of a meal.

Having to work harder to handle utensils can bring a whole new awareness to a meal, and lessen the tendency to eat mindlessly. Each bite is noticed and, if you remember to do it, savored more.

Chocolate Meditation

The chocolate meditation involves eating a small amount of chocolate very slowly and deliberately, noticing every feeling, taste and sensation in your body as you do. Chocolate is a wonderful food to be savored, and a quick meditation involving mindful eating can be extremely satisfying.

Raisin Meditation

If you can’t eat chocolate, a raisin meditation can provide similar benefits. Raisins don’t melt in your mouth the way chocolate does, but you can focus more on the appearance of the raisin, the tactile sensations as you handle and explore the raisin, and the chewy texture, as well as the sweet taste, as you eat one at a time, very slowly. These relatively quick mindful eating exercises can help you practice the experience of savoring food and help you develop a greater awareness of food so you do less mindless eating.

Mindful Meal

Eat an entire meal with a ‘mindful eating’ mindset. Focus deeply on the sensations you feel not only in your mouth and stomach, but in other areas of your body as well: your hands and arms as you bring the food to your mouth, the sounds you hear as you eat, the aroma of the food, and even the thoughts that come into your head.

Eat slowly and notice everything. (Mindful eating need not involve this much intensity at every meal, but it’s good to practice it at times.)

Practice these mindful eating strategies for a few days and see when you experience a shift in your relationship with food—and stress.

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