You’ve heard of meditation, but what about practicing mindfulness with a raisin?
You often hear that mindfulness is about living in the present moment, but what does that mean? Simply put, living in the present moment means that you consciously experience the world through observing your environment and noticing things that exist in it. That sounds like an abstract idea, but fortunately it’s an idea you can put into practice. The way you experience the world is through your primary senses, which are sight, touch, smell, sound, and taste.
The best part is that you can practice mindfulness anywhere, at any time, using simple tools. A very simple mindfulness exercise to try for the first time can involve something as small as a raisin.
Here’s what you’ll need:
A raisin (or any piece of food you can hold and observe)
A comfortable place where you can focus
Curiosity and a good attitude
Now that you have all the essential tools, here’s how to practice mindfulness step-by-step:
Look at the raisin and observe its appearance:
Size: Notice how big or small it looks on your palm or between your fingers.
Shape: Observe whether it’s flat or rounded, take a look at its ridges. You can squish it and see if the shape changes. Hold it up to the light and try to see whether it's solid or a bit translucent.
Feel the weight of the raisin on your palm. Squeeze it between your fingers. Is it soft or hard? Does it feel fresh or stale? Is it sticky?
Bring the raisin to your nose and give it a sniff. Does it have any odour? How does it smell? Does it give you an idea of how it might taste?
Bring the raisin close to your ear and roll it between your fingers. Is there any sound? Does it sound squishy? You don’t need to name the sound, just listen for it.
Lastly, lick the raisin or put it in your mouth. Roll it around with your tongue and try to notice any flavours. Words like sweet, might come to your mind, but let yourself have the thought and then let it be. You might think, I don’t like how this tastes or feels in my mouth. Let all those thoughts exist, avoid labeling them as good or bad. The point of the exercise isn’t to figure out whether you like the taste or not, but to just feel how it tastes.
What if I can’t do this?
If you have no words to describe what it feels like to experience the raisin with any of your senses, don’t worry. Our brains always try to analyse everything we do because this is how they work to help us survive. The problem is that sometimes we are overwhelmed with information that we can’t stop thinking about and as a result, we might completely shut down to avoid them.
Mindfulness helps our minds feel more at peace by giving us the tools to handle these overwhelming thoughts and feelings, and showing us how to pay attention to what really matters. When you learn how to pay attention it’s easier to also find the words to describe your experience.
So, grab another raisin or small snack of your liking and give these steps a try!
Despoina wants to make mental health support more accessible to everyone and believes that having personal agency is an important part of that. Despoina loves reading and writing fiction and hanging out with her dog.