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Amsterdam Amstel
13-09-2016 / 11:00

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mindful living

do what you do with full attention

We tend to live hastily. It is often a habit; without actually being in a hurry, we drive, walk, talk and eat quickly and preferably at the same time. Our attention is easily diverted from what we do and we wander in thoughts, judgments and daydreams. Sometimes thoughts can be so overwhelming that we lose contact with our body.

Wake up literally
When you are very aware of what you are doing, your attitude to the elements of your daily life changes. You start to see coherence between things that were not clear before. Such as thought patterns that repeat themselves or emotions that come up again and again in certain situations. By being attentive you literally wake up and notice how your thoughts, emotions and behaviors work.

Creating peace and gentleness
Mindfulness teaches you to perceive what is: making contact with the present moment; now, without getting caught up in thoughts and feelings. Everything you do is done with attention. By putting the hurry aside and being perceptive, you create peace and gentleness. In daily activities, such as brushing your teeth or taking a shower, but also in recognizing your emotions. When you feel sad, you really notice that you feel sad. When you judge yourself or others, you realize that you are judging. When you tend to "eat away" your feelings, you realize you have that tendency.

Mindful food is a great way to be present with full attention. If you eat carefully, you are aware of all dimensions of eating. You then have attention before, during and after eating for your mind, body, feelings and thoughts. Because of your presence in the moment, your senses open and you smell, taste, see and feel more consciously what and how you eat.

Exercise
Do you want to start with a more mindful life? Then start eating at least one meal a day with full attention.

1. Before you start eating, make room to experience what is happening in your body and mind. Notice what you smell and see: can you recognize multiple scents? What colors and structures can you see? Also listen to what your body tells you: are you physically hungry or are you driven by emotions? Try to get as clear as possible for yourself what thoughts and feelings precede eating. This way you become aware of your motives that encourage eating. Be mild in this; reflect on your experience without judging it.

2. Then observe while eating. Pay attention to the sensation in your mouth; tasting, chewing and swallowing. Notice what reactions your body gives you: can you feel how your stomach reacts to what you swallow? Return to your mind there too: do you feel satiety? And are you aware of the moment when your body is full? Learn to recognize your body's signals, listen to them and act on them.