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We think you should eat some chocolate

by Andy Puddicombe

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Glad that got your attention. Anyway, chocolate. What does it mean to you?

Does the very word take you to a special place? Does it trigger feelings of craving and desire, or thoughts of guilt and weight loss? When you have it, do you sit down and savor every bite or do you wolf it down in a hurry (maybe even by the light of an open refrigerator in the middle of the night?)

From the latest news on the health threats of bacon to an ever-growing focus on organic produce, a mindful approach to food is pretty hot right now. But when it comes to the practice of mindful eating, you really need to try it for it to make sense. And if you’re going to try it, you might as well try it with chocolate.

As connoisseurs of the sweet treat, we think you’ll enjoy this more if you choose really good chocolate, but that’s entirely up to you. Whatever you choose, get ready to experience it as if it’s the first and last piece of chocolate you’ve ever tasted.

Here are a few pointers to get you started:

1. Before you start, take a few deep breaths in through the nose and out through the mouth to allow the body and mind to settle.

2. Take a moment to appreciate the chocolate: where did it come from? What’s in it? What do those ingredients look like in their natural environments?

3. Pause to notice your feelings. Do you feel impatient? Excited? Guilty?

4. Slowly unwrap the chocolate and take a minute explore it with your eyes, nose and hands. Look at it closely, smell it and touch it to see how it feels.

5. By now you’ll be ready to taste it. Take a bite but try to resist chewing it. Notice how it feels in your mouth—the temperature and the texture. Notice the taste; is it sweet, bitter, or creamy? Allow the chocolate to melt gently moving it around with your tongue.

Now sit back in your chair and enjoy the fact that you’ve just experienced mindful chocolate eating. You’re welcome.

Andy Puddicombe

Andy Puddicombe is a meditation and mindfulness expert. An accomplished presenter and writer, Andy is the voice of all things Headspace. In his early twenties, midway through a university degree in Sports Science, Andy made the unexpected decision to travel to the Himalayas to study meditation instead. It was the beginning of a ten-year journey which took him around the world, culminating with ordination as a Tibetan Buddhist monk in Northern India. His transition back to lay life in 2004 was no less extraordinary. Training briefly at Moscow State Circus, he returned to London where he completed a degree in Circus Arts with the Conservatoire of Dance and Drama, whilst drawing up the early plans for what was later to become Headspace.

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