Using Your 5 Senses for Mindfulness

We’ve all been there, when you lay down at night and can’t remember what you had for breakfast, if you remembered to take the trash out, or if you brushed your kids teeth that night. With life’s distractions, it is easy to go through life without really paying attention. And not just to what is happening around us, but also what is happening within us.

Mindfulness is paying attention on purpose. It’s that simple. You don’t need a handbook, but it does help to have some tools to tap into to get you started. And, your 5 senses are just that.

Join me (with your family, if you’d like!) to experience a moment in a whole new way with this mindfulness activity during a meal.

Note: It is totally normal to feel a little silly doing this the first few times. Just keep with it and explore. Also, it is okay for the answer to be “nothing.” Just flow with it!

Sit comfortably at the table.

Sight: Notice the food. What colors do you see? What textures? Are any colors mixing together? What do you think about the color of the food? Does it make your body feel any way? Does it make you think of anything in particular? Notice without allowing those thoughts to distract you from focusing back on how the food looks.

Smell: What do you smell? Is it a pleasant smell or a bad one? Is it sweet? Is it savory? What happens inside of your mouth when you smell the food? How do you feel when you smell the food?

Feel: Touch the food (if you are okay getting a little food on your hands) or the table beside your plate. What do you notice about the texture? The temperature? How do you feel (inside your body and in your mind) when you touch the table or the food?

Hear: Take a moment and listen. What do you hear? Take one minute to just sit and listen. See if you can focus JUST on what you hear. If your mind (or tummy) wanders, come back to the sounds around you.

Taste! Yay, it’s time to eat. Bring the food to your mouth and let it stay on your tongue. Notice what happens to your mouth as soon as you put the food inside. Initially, as soon as it hit your tongue, what did you taste? Was it sweet? Salty? Savory? Sour? Now, take a bite. Notice what happens to the taste once it has been bit. Does it change? Now chew it up about 10-15 times before you swallow. Does the food’s taste change as you continue to chew it? Notice that.

Once you have swallowed, share about what you experienced. Again, it’s totally normal for it to seem silly. We are conditioned to look for distractions when things get challenging. Mindfulness is a technique to retrain your brain to pay attention on purpose. Try it a few times. The more you practice, the richer the practice becomes.

We’d love to hear your experience. Comment below!