Have Yourself a Merry Mindful Christmas
Updated: Apr 10, 2020
A Mindful Christmas? Of course. Let's start with chocolate. There is a lot of candy floating around during the holidays. Don't feel guilty about eating candy. Get that one, favorite chocolate morsel and really experience it. Take five minutes to listen to the guided mindful chocolate podcast located on the bcalmbzen website blog page. You can also check out mindful chocolate on YouTube from The Honest Guys.
Or you can go completely old school and read the directions below. The Chocolate Meditation is used as an introduction to mindfulness, as a mindful exercise for children, and as part of mindful eating. Even experienced mindfulness practitioners find this to be a great experience.
Danny Penman Ph.D., author of Finding Peace in a Frantic World provided these instructions in Psychology Today for chocolate meditation:
"Choose some chocolate - either a type that you've never tried before or one that you have not eaten recently. It might be dark and flavoursome, organic or fair-trade or, perhaps, cheap and trashy. The important thing is to choose a type you wouldn't normally eat or that you consume only rarely. Here goes: • Open the packet. Inhale the aroma. Let it sweep over you. • Break off a piece and look at it. Really let your eyes drink in what it looks like, examining every nook and cranny. • Pop it in your mouth. See if it's possible to hold it on your tongue and let it melt, noticing any tendency to suck at it. Chocolate has over 300 different flavours. See if you can sense some of them. • If you notice your mind wandering while you do this, simply notice where it went, then gently escort it back to the present moment. • After the chocolate has completely melted, swallow it very slowly and deliberately. Let it trickle down your throat. • Repeat this with one other piece.
How do you feel? Is it different from normal? Did the chocolate taste better than if you'd just eaten it at a normal breakneck pace? Do you feel fuller that normal, more satisfied?"
Elizabeth Scott, M.S. explains the exercise this way (this is our favorite):
"Get a small piece of chocolate. That's right; for the chocolate meditation, you need, of course, a piece of chocolate. I recommend a small piece of dark chocolate with a large cocoa content, but you can use a chocolate kiss, a handful of semi-sweet chips, or whatever you have on-hand. It need not be a large piece of chocolate, either; in fact, bite-sized or a little larger is best."
"Relax your body. Take a few deep breaths and work on un-tensing your muscles to relax your body. You want to start your chocolate meditation as physically relaxed as possible. Close your eyes, if you feel comfortable with it."
"Smell, gaze, and nibble. After you smell the chocolate and enjoy the aroma, after you look at the chocolate and really take in how delicious it looks, you can finally take a small bite of your chocolate."
"Let it sit on your tongue and melt in your mouth. Notice the flavors from the chocolate, becoming completely absorbed in what you're experiencing right now. Continue your deep breathing, and concentrate on the sensations in your mouth."
"Focus on sensations. As you swallow, focus on how it feels going down. Notice how your mouth feels empty. Then, as you take a second bite, try to even notice how your arm feels as you raise the chocolate to your mouth, how it feels between your fingers, and then in your mouth. Again, focus on the sensations you are feeling in the present moment."
"Re-focus on the present. If other thoughts come into your mind during your chocolate meditation, gently refocus your attention to the flavors and sensations associated with the chocolate. The idea is to stay in the present moment as much as you possibly can."
"Savor this feeling. When you're done savoring your chocolate, revisit the feeling throughout your day, and feel more relaxed. You may choose to continue your meditation after the chocolate is gone, or simply resume your day immediately afterward."
Have yourself a Merry Mindful Christmas and don't forget the chocolate.