Why is mindfulness important?
With its roots in Buddhism, mindfulness is a concept that has been enriching the lives of practitioners for decades. The technique encourages people to shift their thoughts away from distractions and focus on the present. Over time, the mindfulness method allows people a distinctly different and broader perspective on how they view their lives and every moment contained within.
Studies have shown that increasing your capacity for mindfulness can have a gradual but noticeable effect on your resilience, motivation and the physical activity in your brain. It can help relieve stress, improves sleep and has therapeutic effects for people with diseases and disorders, including heart disease, high blood pressure and chronic pain. But to date, the most marked difference has been in mental health, including: depression, substance abuse, eating disorders, anxiety disorders, and obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD).
The benefits of chocolate
It’s widely acknowledged that the best things for you don’t taste great! Which is why getting a little chocolate into your diet for its nutritional effects may sound a little too good to be true. And you may be right, in part. The health benefits assigned to chocolate are found in dark chocolates with a higher cocoa concentration (think 80% of higher), so fans of Dairy Milk may well be disappointed. Goop has a great article on what type of chocolate you need to look for to also get your wellness fix and the general consensus is the purer the better. Some of these wellness advantages of raw chocolate, or cacao, include:
Pure Cacao Benefits
Keeps skin moisturised
Helps you dream
Prevents UV damage Friendly
Regulates your blood pressure
Chocolate mindfulness = A match made in heaven
Mindfulness and chocolate have something in common: you can have a piece of it anywhere, on the go, in bed, shared with friends or your partner or enjoyed alone and the effect is a decadent sense of relief. Because like chocolate, taking time out for yourself can sometimes feel a bit indulgent. The key to mindfulness is giving your permission to take time out to dial into the present, wherever and whenever you see fit. Even when eating chocolate that isn’t 80% cocoa or higher! Just remember to exercise the same level of moderation as you would with other guilty pleasures.
Now try the Me&Me time chocolate mindfulness exercise
- Pick your chocolate – Remember, the higher the concentration of cocoa the better. We recommend a small piece of dark chocolate 80% or higher. If that’s not palatable, your favourite chocolate is perfect. If you have any issues with chocolate, substitute your favourite thing to eat instead.
- Sit comfortably – Have your chocolate in front of you and leave it be for now. Sit on the ground and in a chair and…
- Breathe – With your eyes open or closed, start with a cleansing breath and relax your muscles. Breathe in fully for the count of three. Hold the breath for a count of twelve. Breathe out to a count of six. Repeat this seven times.
- Tune into the chocolate – Have a sensory moment with your chocolate by gazing at. Observe its imperfections without judgement, the way it looks in the light and the roughness or smoothness of its texture. Breathe in its aroma, then finally, take a small bite. Let it sit on your tongue and melt while you taste its flavours, its temperatures and be present in this moment of placid indulgence.
- Continue to breathe and repeat slowly.
- Avoid distractions – Other thoughts may pop into your mind at this time, so remember to guide your mind back gently to the tastes and sensations in your mouth.
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