TOBY MIZZI, COUNSELLING PSYCHOLOGIST, STRONG MINDS PSYCHOLOGY
Given it is Easter Monday today, I thought it would be appropriate to incorporate chocolate into the activity for this week. I do acknowledge that Easter means different things to different people. For some, Easter is a very important time tied to their specific religious beliefs. For others, Easter has little or no personal meaning or significance. For many, Easter is a holiday that is celebrated by giving chocolate. My focus is on cultivating mindfulness so irrespective of your own personal belief around Easter, I hope you can enjoy the mindfulness activity for this week.
If you do not like or cannot eat chocolate, you can complete this activity with another food choice. A sultana is another good choice but you can essentially using anything. That said, it will work better with a small item of food (e.g., piece of chocolate, sultana, grape, nut etc) rather than something bigger and more complex (e.g., a whole sandwich). Given you are likely to have some chocolate laying around at this time of year, chocolate is a good choice! It may help to use chocolate that has been in the refrigerator as you will be handling the chocolate before eating it. Thus, if it is cold, it will last longer before melting!
- Take a small piece of chocolate (or other food) and bring your full awareness to it. Imagine that you have never come into contact with chocolate before and that this whole experience was new.
- Using all of your senses, notice as much as you can about the chocolate. Notice what is feels like in your hands. How does it feel? Can you notice the coldness or can you feel it melting?
- Look at it closely, what do you notice? Is the surface smooth? Does it have bumps or lines or any other markings?
- Bring it up to your nose and smell it. Is it a strong smell or is it more subtle? Is it a pleasant smell?
- Try snapping a piece of the chocolate if you can. Can you hear the sound of it breaking apart? If it is in a foil wrapper, can you hear the sound of the foil unravelling?
- Now the best part – slowly bring the chocolate up to your mouth. As you take start to eat it, do so slowly and notice the texture, the flavour and the consistency. Can you notice it melting in your mouth? What different flavours can you distinguish?
Pretty simple really. All you have to do is apply mindfulness to the task of eating a piece of chocolate. We often eat our food in a very mindless way, scoffing it down without paying much attention to what we are doing. For this exercise, we are being fully aware of the experience. Enjoy.
About the Author:
Toby shares his time between the Strong Minds Psychology team, Swinburne University, and his young family. He is passionate about providing individualised support, and empowering people to enhance their mental health. Toby provides counselling and therapy for children, adolescents, adults and couples – helping with depression, anxiety, self-esteem, relationship difficulties, grief & loss, and family conflict. Mindful Mondays will be a regular blog on our website and Facebook page.
If you would like to discuss how the Strong Minds Psychology team can support your mental health needs, complete the form below or call us on 0417 389 941.