How often do you find yourself eating a meal by yourself either at work, on the road, or at home, instinctively reaching for your smartphone to keep you company? Yep. Me too. All of the time.
At least it WAS all of the time. Since successfully enduring a horrible, eight-day colon cleanse during the Thanksgiving holiday which included five days of liquids-only (JOY!), I have been making a conscious effort to be more mindful about my food and beverage intake. Not only have I been mindful about WHAT I am putting into my body – I refuse this year to pack on the Minnesota Winter 10 – but I am also watching HOW I eat.
It turns out that since becoming single earlier this year, I developed quite the nasty habit of eating with my phone. Take a bite, click on Facebook. Take another bite, scroll through the News Feed. Take a third, read some news (or faux-news) on HuffPost. Sip some water, click on email to see if that client has responded to my proposal. Take another bite, text a friend about plans for the weekend. Repeat until my plate is empty and/or the show I just started watching on Hulu is done.
What’s the result of this mindless eating? When we pull our attention away from the (hopefully) delicious, nutritious food in front of us, we not only rob ourselves of the valuable experience of truly enjoying the flavors and sensations, but we also keep our brains plugged into the noise of social media and the pressures of work. Before we know it, we’ve snarfed down our meal without so much as even noticing it! Ever ask yourself if you’ve eaten lunch or not, because you can’t remember it? Yeah, me neither. ;)
However, if we can summon the intestinal fortitude to put our phones away and simply BE with our food, we’ll soon discover some wonderful benefits to mindful eating:
You’ll eat slower which will allow your metabolism to kick in
You’ll eat less because you’ll actually be eating based on how you feel
You’ll enjoy the meal more because you’ll be solely focused on enjoying each bite
You'll be less apt to snack more because you will have been satisfied at mealtime
Not only does this help you at the dinner table or in the food court, but it also affects how you walk in the world away from the grub. When you detach yourself from the constant onslaught of digital media, you start to improve your focus on other, more important things: meaningful conversations, creative meetings, mission-critical projects, and precious self-care activities. Even just enjoying your surroundings can have a profound impact on mood elevation and stress reduction. Who doesn’t need that?
By unplugging when you can, you train your brain to actually BE where you are at any given moment. It is difficult at first, but you will soon discover a whole new world of power and peace awaiting you away from the electronic albatross. You’ll become a stronger leader, a more innovative contributor, a bigger producer, a better parent, and a healthier you.
Go ahead. Enjoy that next meal all by yourself. You deserve it.
Theresa Rose is a business motivational speaker, award-winning author and high-value consultant who helps organizations and their teams develop meaningful connections and creative cultures through mindfulness. For more information, visit TheresaRose.com.