National Chocolate Day: An exercise in eating mindfully

It takes a lot of will power, but even children can learn to eat chocolate mindfully....

It takes a lot of will power, but even children can learn to eat chocolate mindfully....

In celebration of National Chocolate day, which I have to say is one of my FAVOURITE national days, I thought I would share one of my favourite Mindfulness exercises for adults or children.

I often hear from people that they don't have time to practice Mindfulness, or to meditate (and these people are the ones who would probably most benefit from mindfulness or meditation). So I suggest they try to practice everyday experiences (cleaning their teeth, drinking a cup of tea or indeed eating) more mindfully.

When I am teaching children (and adults for that matter), I often use 'Mindful eating' exercises as an example of how, if we slow down, calm down, and notice what's happening in that very moment, it can be a very rewarding and enjoyable experience.

So here it is, if you'd like to try is - Mindful Chocolate eating.... enjoy!

This should take around 3-4 minutes. You will need small pieces of chocolate or mini eggs as demonstrated in the picture! 

Approach the exercise with an open mind and a gentle curiosity. There is no right or wrong, just individual experiences, take it one step at a time.

Consider the wrapped chocolate - Does the wrapper make a sound? What colour is it? What does it say? Where did it come from? Open the chocolate, slowly - Do you feel a sense of anticipation, or an urge to immediately put the chocolate in your mouth? What physical sensations do you have? What emotions are you feeling? Just note them. Look at the chocolateConsider its texture, colour, weight… Smell the chocolate - does the smell trigger any other senses? Where do you feel your sense of smell?

Place the chocolate in your mouth but DO NOT EAT!! How does it feel as it melts? Where in your mouth can you taste it? What is the consistency? What is happening with your mouth, teeth, tongue, lips as it melts? Move the chocolate around your mouth Does the area of taste change? Does the taste itself change? What is happening to the chocolate? How do you feel? Swallow the chocolate, focusing on the sensation. Is there a lingering taste? How do you feel physically and emotionally? Take a little while to consider the experience. Now continue to the conclusion.... How was this different from your general chocolate-eating experiences? More intense? Frustrating? More pleasurable? Were you more aware of your emotions during the exercise? Would this change your future experience of eating chocolate? Why?

I always offer the children or adults another piece of chocolate to eat as they wish, I expect them to gulp it down and eat it much quicker than during our exercise, but I am amazed how many of them choose to repeat the experience! Let me know how you get on by commenting below! And enjoy National Chocolate Day!