Do you take time to give thanks before a meal? By appreciating your food and the opportunity to nourish your body, you are not only practicing good mental health strategies but also an important step in mindful eating.
Many times we say thanks, but we aren’t truly grateful. It is something we do automatically, like when a waiter refills your water glass or someone passes you the pepper shaker. You say thanks, but you don’t feel grateful.
In order to truly reap the benefits of mindful eating, you need to feel grateful for your meal and not just go through the motions of saying thanks.
Here are some easy steps to follow in order to have a grateful mindset at mealtime:
- Prepare your meal, put away/turn off any distractions, and get comfortable. You should also set up any techniques you are using to slow down your eating at this time as well. (Do anything you need to do to follow steps 1 and 2 of mindful eating)
- Close your eyes to take away any visual stimuli.
- Take 3 slow deep breaths and clear your mind. Forget about your to-do list, any conflicts, and anything else that may be taking over your thoughts. Just focus on breathing in and out.
- Keeping your eyes closed, move your thoughts from your breath to 2 or 3 things that you are grateful for at the moment. This will put yourself in a thankful and gracious mood.
- With your eyes open or closed, give thanks for your meal and the time to nourish your body with great nutrients. You can do this in prayer or a simple moment of gratitude.
Open your eyes and enjoy your meal. Notice the difference in your eating. Do you eat at a slower pace now? Are you fully tasting the food? Are you enjoying yourself and your time?
Let me know how you give thanks before a meal.