The senses… Seemingly so obvious that we use them most of the time, and yet, just like breathing, we can forget about them and only use them in an automatic way. Our senses help us to perceive the outside world, but we usually use them in a very limited way. A bit like through a fog.
But coming back to our senses is also a great way to come back to the present experience. By focusing on what we see, hear, feel, what we touch, what we taste, we naturally redirect our attention back to the present moment. Mindfulness of the senses helps us to let go of internal analysis, quiet the mind, relax tension, and at the same time experience more authentically what is happening around us. By noticing with curiosity and openness what comes to us through sight, hearing, touch, smell and taste in a very pleasant way we become attentive and return to conscious living.
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A great time to practice mindfulness to our senses is during a meal. While eating, we can practice getting in touch with all of our senses, while having fun with it and getting much more pleasure from what we eat.
To start, you can practice mindful eating with your favorite snack. It could be a piece of apple, a nut, a carrot or even a cube of chocolate.
- First, look at your snack with curiosity: what colors, shapes, surfaces do you see?
- Take it in your hand and feel it in your palm: how do you feel its weight, temperature, texture?
- Smell your snack: what aroma do you smell – maybe you associate it with something?
- See if you can hear your snack: when you rub it, gently tap it, break it, or when you start to bite into it?
- Note the taste of the snack when you put it in your mouth and how it changes as you begin to chew and bite. Note how the taste spreads slowly in the mouth: on the tongue and on the palate.
- Finally, feel how you swallow your treat and what impressions this mindful eating practice has left in you.
Of course, you can naturally incorporate mindful eating into your day by eating mindful breakfast, lunch (or at least part of it), or dinner, or even by drinking mindful coffee, tea, or water.
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Think about and write down when you could be paying more attention to your senses.
Remember that this can help you both to cope more effectively with tension and scheming and to experience more fully the “ordinary” moments in your day.
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