Welcome back to our series on Mindful Eating. We took a brief hiatus from learning about our 7 Types of Hungers and now we are ready to move on. I hope your Thanksgiving holiday provided a great opportunity to practice some the skills you have learned through this series.
1. Eye Hunger 2. Nose Hunger 3. Mouth Hunger 4. Stomach Hunger 5. Cellular Hunger 6. Mind Hunger 7. Heart Hunger
In all honesty, I used to despise the phrase, “It’s all in your mind.” It feels invalidating, like the other person wasn’t getting what I was trying to express. However, there is one arena that I have found this to be sincerely true….Mind Hunger.
Mind Hunger is when our mind tells us what and when we want, should (not) or need (not) to eat something. The mind is fed by all sorts of things we hear and see. Our mind is fed from advertisements, whether derived from radio, television, internet or the marketing on packaged goods at the grocery store. We process this information and we then share our mind hunger with our friends, families and sometimes complete strangers.
Jan Chozen Bays’ book, Mindful Eating explains Mind Hunger in more depth and I recommend that you read this book. I appreciated her commenting on how she doesn’t think that Mind Hunger can truly be satisfied because it is always changing its mind. She did note that perhaps the only way to really find out is to allow it to be quiet. Now that is a concept worth exploring.
Here is a meditation exercise worth experimenting with over the next week or so. I call it Sensory Meditations.
Discription: Find a quiet place in your home, car, school or work. Start and end the exercise with 3 deep belly breaths. Each component is broken up into 5 minute segments. Feel free to do all 5 or just one or two segments at a time. Use a timer to count down the increments for you. I recommend using your smart phone and not a kitchen timer. It is common for your thoughts to wonder off topic when first starting. Identify the thought (ex. That’s a thought, that’s a feeling, that’s an urge to scratch an itch, etc.) then tell yourself, “And now, I’m focusing on…” Do not hold onto your passing thoughts, nor try to push them away. Simply notice that you had that thought and refocus to the task at hand.
3 Diaphragmatic Breaths
Segment 1, Eyes: Allow yourself to really look, notice your environment. Notice color, details in patterns, shapes or anything that your eyes find pleasing.
Segment 2, Ears: Close your eyes and focus on the sounds in your environment. Notice sounds that appear close or further away, the pulse of them, the affect they may have on your breathing.
Segment 3, Touch: Close your eyes and focus on the sensation of touch. Feel the temperature in the room, the way your close feel on your body, the way your body feels against the floor or chair or where-ever you are. Feel sensations in your body, such as relaxation in your hand or a tightness in your back. Do not hold onto the sensations or push them away, only notice.
Segment 4, Breath: Close your eyes and focus on your breathing. Do not feel you need to change your breathing, only notice it. Notice the air flowing into your body, where it lands (neck, chest, or belly) and the flow of carbon dioxide going out. As you put your attention on your breathing, notice natural shifts in your breathing pattern throughout this segment.
3 Diaphragmatic Breaths
For more information on Mindful Eating practices check out The Center for Mindful Eating.