Professor Jon Kabat-Zinn developed and began leading the Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction program at the University of Massachusetts Medical School in 1979. He defines mindfulness as “paying attention in a particular way, on purpose, in the present moment, and nonjudgmentally” [Kabat-Zinn J, 1991 as cited in reference i].
Kabat-Zinn uses a technique to enhance mindfulness as outlined below. Try it out:
- “Sit comfortably in a chair.
- Place a raisin in your hand.
- Examine the raisin as if you had never seen it before.
- Imagine it as its “plump self” growing on the vine surrounded by nature.
- As you look at the raisin, become conscious of what you see: the shape, texture, color, size. Is it hard or soft?
- Bring the raisin to your nose and smell it.
- Are you anticipating eating the raisin? Is it difficult not to just pop it in your mouth?
- How does the raisin feel? How small it is in your hand?
- Place the raisin in your mouth. Become aware of what your tongue is doing.
- Bite ever so lightly into the raisin. Feel its squishiness.
- Chew three times and then stop.
- Describe the flavor of the raisin. What is the texture?
- As you complete chewing, swallow the raisin.
- Sit quietly, breathing, aware of what you are sensing.” [ii]
[i] Nelson JB. (2017). Mindful Eating: The Art of Presence While You Eat. Diabetes spectrum : a publication of the American Diabetes Association, 30(3), 171–174. https://doi.org/10.2337/ds17-0015
[ii] How to Eat Mindfully. Taking charge of your health & wellbeing. Retrieved from https://www.takingcharge.csh.umn.edu/activities/how-eat-mindfully