EXPLORING THE FIVE SENSES - WE ARE WHAT WE TASTE.
I can think of so many examples, particularly across December, when I have eaten without paying much attention to the tastes and textures that have surrounded me. Mindful eating practices are one of the first ways in which I was taught to be mindful. A classic practice would be to eat a raisin (or a Malteser which was my particular favourite)! By slowing down the experience, paying attention to the feel, smell, and how your mouth responds before you even put the raisin in your mouth is a way of truly connecting with the here and now. Through this simple practice, we can find a new appreciation of the foods we eat, and can lead us to stop before we reach that uncomfortable full feeling. And let’s face it, most of us have had that more than a few times recently ;)
It’s also a really easy way to practice a little me time each day - because we’ve got to eat right? Yet most of us will be busy doing a whole host of other things whilst getting some fuel in our bodies, be that working, planning, running around or watching TV. Yet committing to just one mindful meal a day – or a few moments of that meal – can give us so many benefits, including improving our mood and reducing our stress levels. Personally, I have also noticed how this has changed how I feel about certain foods… and I’ve noticed a few that I really don’t like if I eat them in a mindful, present way!
WAKE UP AND SMELL THE COFFEE.
Taste is more than just what we feel in our mouths; Researchers have suggested that as much as 80% of what we taste is via smell. This statistic always makes me think about how much I enjoy my morning cup of coffee, with the routine always starting with smelling that warm cosy liquid before I take my first sip. Pay attention to the smells around you as a way of connecting with the present, just before you start to taste something.
HEALTHY LIPS IMPROVE OUR TASTE!As we find ourselves in the thick of winter, it takes its toll on our skin, in particular, our lips! The fragile skin cracks, which we then start to bite and before we know it we are in a vicious cycle of sore chapped lips. This, in turn, will have an effect on how we taste. I’m always on the lookout for a good lip balm, but often find that they come off so quickly, and who has the time to keep reapplying in our busy lives? I recently discovered Dr Lipp Original Nipple Balm for Lips, and I can tell you that it is simply wonderful! The thickest balm I have ever found and stays on for at least a couple of hours, and what’s more, it’s under 100ml, making it travel size friendly...Sheer perfection to keep our lips healthy as we battle the elements. This is one I will definitely take with me on my next Ski trip to the Alps!
FIGHT THE SLEEPINESS.Tastes are also a really quick way of giving us a much-needed energy boost. Have you ever been tired in a warm room, listening attentively in a very important meeting, yet that sleepy sensation starts to take over? You start to pinch yourself discreetly, followed by shifting in your chair, yet suddenly your eyelids seem to have a mind of their own, and they want to shut. A top tip - keep a sour sweet in your bag as an emergency pick me up. Eating something with a strong flavour can kick your senses into action once more. This is a trick I have used more than once, and has saved me from some potentially embarrassing situations on those days when you just can’t fight the sleepiness kicking in!
On the next A LITTLE ME TIME, we will explore the sense of SIGHT
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Dr. Amandip Bahia BSc (Hons), DClinPsych, is a Clinical Psychologist and Organisational Consultant with over 15 years of experience working with adults with a variety of mental health difficulties. She has worked both in the NHS and her own private practice. More recently she has been working with organisations, and how psychological theory can help in the workplace. She is passionate about personal well being and how we balance this with busy lives.