So, the buzzword around seems to be Mindfulness. Over the years I have consciously tried to slow life down, take time to sniff the air and the like but with a busy family and work life it never really lasted very long.
I recently bought myself a Mindfulness Journal, I usually dash things down on a pad or random piece of paper and then promptly forget about it or lose it. A journal was the answer, with guided exercises to follow and something to carry around in my handbag to whip out when the urge to write takes me.
One particular thing I have made a point of doing is to try to eat mindfully, rather than mindlessly. It is of course, what you eat that matters but also how you eat it. My dad used to tell me as a child to chew my food slowly and mix it with my saliva before swallowing. Of course as a child I thought urgh, that sounds gross as I wolfed down my food which usually got in the way of play, but he was right. Saliva is made mostly from water with electrolytes, antibacterial compounds and various enzymes that break down starches. It moistens your mouth, prepares food for swallowing and starts the process of digestion when we chew.
Most of us find ourselves multi-tasking when eating these days, on the phone, watching television, etc. eating on the run at least once a day or grabbing something quick to save time, but not only is this not good for your digestion (sorry about the double negative there) but I’m guessing like me you barely remember eating it!
Eating mindfully can change our brain and nervous system chemistry too, calming everything down and countering the effects of stress. Our body’s response to stress is to slow down our digestive activity which should improve so that digestion can become much more efficient and effective.
Mindful eating, easier said than done especially with small children around but well worth trying to put into practice for at least one meal a day. I know I can feel the difference when I get the opportunity to slow down, ignore distractions and relish the food and the moment.
Food is fuel but it is also there to be tasted and savoured. I will endeavour to take my own advice and the wise words of my father from long ago.