Mindful Eating Begets Mindful Living
Words: Alfred Chung
Photography: Sasha Stocknap
Inspired by a recent PAUSE Session X Mindfulness Lunch I just attended, I've been experimenting with the act of listening to my body. This has led me to downsize my eating portions, and taking care to slow down in the process. As a result, I found that I gradually became more engaged with what I was consuming. During the mindfulness lunch experience, even though the portions were small, I felt fuller than usual due to the active questioning which took place. This was indeed, quite surprising to me.
Here are my other key takeaways:
- Appreciate what we have
As we learned to be fully engaged with our senses and experiences, we were able to realise that even a small amount can be quite fulfilling and enriching. Similarly in other aspects of our lives, what we have been told about what should be enough to live a good life is an illusion we have been selling ourselves to. The more we try to justify to ourselves the need to sustain such a consumerist lifestyle, the more we tend to find that almost everything is 'wrong' with our world.
- The importance of still knowing how to 'disconnect' in a hyperconnected world
Not only is subscribing to a fast paced lifestyle actually slowing us down – it also literally drains us. Constant efficiency naturally consumes a lot of energy - mentally, physically and emotionally. Understanding how to slow down with intention, is key.
- Prioritise meaningful connections and conversations
Slowing down helps us 'scale the unscalable', but with conscious intent. To illustrate this: you can be a champion in gaining social media followers of ten thousand fans overnight (either by buying them or because you posted something 'trendy'), but they may not be probably that engaged with your content at all. From a marketing perspective, it's now commonly viewed that 'less is more', sometimes e.g. 1000 true fans is all you need.
As much as we like to automate our communication with technology these days, we can’t automate human relationships and true connections. That’s unscalable. On the contrary, a person who spends the energy, time and effort building high-quality relationships with just a few hundred advocates, will most likely be able to scale these connections via word of mouth and influence, because those advocates are invested supporters and are with them for the long haul.
- Exude only sincere, quality presence
By dividing our finite attention LESS, we will be able to be MORE than what we are currently. It allows us to give quality to our PRESENCE. When was the last time you had a REAL conversation without simultaneously also having your thumb scroll mindlessly up and down your smart phone screen? Conversations that involve listening, digesting and responding appropriately in a nonjudgmental manner are a rare experience for many these days. Try not to let that be your experience!
While these are not the easiest of tasks (thank you bad habits that die hard!), this doesn't mean that a more mindful and conscious way of life cannot be achieved.
All it takes is patience, purpose and practice - which you are completely capable of, because, standards.