In a couple days, here in the U.S., we will celebrate Thanksgiving, a holiday that brings people together to share a meal, laugh, and reconnect with loved ones. It’s also a time to recognize and be grateful for all the gifts we have in our lives. While Thanksgiving is a joyous day, it can lead to overindulgence. Where we tend to please our mind and emotions and often tune out the needs of our body. Transforming active, joyous energy to lethargy.
On this day, how do we walk away from the table feeling mentally and emotionally happy while our body still feels energetic with room to digest all the nourishment it just received.
One practice is connecting the mind and the emotions with the body through actively engaging the five senses. In using our senses to direct our mind and emotions towards love and appreciation, prior to taking the first bite, can help bring us into the moment. Focusing our attention towards the gift of a meal and helping to prevent mindless eating.
The practice also prepares the body, allowing digestion to begin and release digestive juices prior to even the first bite. Combined with all the positive hormones, we now not only can digest our food, but with it the nutrients from our lovely thoughts.
Here some tips on how to activate the sense of smell, sight, touch, sound and taste to help bring us into the moment.
Smell: This is an easy one. You probably already practice this by recognizing how good the house smells after a day of cooking. Go deeper and see if you can smell the spices, compliment the chef, or tap into the memories that the aroma brings to the surface. Share your feelings with friends or keep this pleasure to yourself. However you choose to practice, taking in and appreciating the aroma will begin to release the digestive enzymes. Prepping the body for the nourishment is about to receive.
Sight: Food is beautiful. Take a moment to appreciate it’s beauty through appreciating the array of colors, compliment the chef on how the table is arranged or the food is presented, and explore the various textures of each dish. All the visual pleasure is a nice way to set your digestive track’s expectations—we all like to prepped and set-up for success, so does our body.
Touch: Feeling your food by eating a bite or 2 with your hands like, veggies, a piece of lettuce, or various appetizers is a great way for the body to feel food’s texture. Is it moist, dry, hard, soft, or oily? Now that you know how it feels, begin to visualize how the texture will feel to your internal body. Through touching we now engage another sense and deepen our understanding of what our eyes see or our nose smells. It broadens our sensorial vocabulary. Hopefully, leading to chew your food even better and really enjoying each bite.
Taste: There’s something about the first bite of meal that comes once a year. It’s special. It can bring up memories and feelings we had forgotten and remind us of the joy certain flavors can bring. Enjoy it and take your time. Compliment the chef and appreciate the time it took to make. This will help to slow down. Remember how it felt in your hand, and how it will feel traveling from your mouth to your digestive track. Appreciate the results of hours of preparation. It’s time for the nourishment to be received and the nutrients absorbed.
Sound: Listen to the sounds around you—are they helping to release joyous hormones. Is your mind or emotions dictating your next bite or is it your body? Appease the mind and the emotions with the pleasurable sounds that are released from activating the sense of smell, sight, touch and taste. It will bring a sense of satisfaction and can allow you to distinguish between the mind’s sound versus the body’s sound. There is a difference. Often the sound of our mind leads us to eating more than our bodies can manage. Remember, the digestive track works best when it is about 75% full. It needs space to digest and to allow for air to circulate so that the digestive fire can kindle. Happy Thanksgiving.