Living in the moment (mindfulness) has been a big focus of mine for longer than I can remember. It’s a practice I know I should work at daily, yet sometimes it’s a real struggle.
So let’s talk about mindfulness for a moment (ha). Then I’ll explain why eating seasonally relates to this mental state.
Mindfulness is “a mental state achieved by focusing one’s awareness on the present moment, while calmly acknowledging and accepting one’s feelings, thoughts, and bodily sensations, used as a therapeutic technique.”
It means actively training your mind to be present and to savor the smallest moments of your everyday. To appreciate what you have now and the life you lead, with the understanding that a heightened sense of awareness will ultimately increase happiness, or make you aware of things in your life that need to change.
Why mindfulness is important to mental health
On a personal level, I’ve found it’s better to focus on my day-to-day instead of my future. I’m completely happy when I’m busy working, whether it’s working at my job or at my second “job” (AKA this blog). I prefer when my weekends are planned a little in advance and I don’t spend too much time idling.
I read recently that “when people’s minds are unoccupied, they tend to drift to anxious or angry thoughts.” This hits so close to home I almost don’t want to admit it here 🙂 but I’m certain I’m not the only one who has experienced this.
It’s when my mind is unoccupied that I start thinking about what my life will look like five, ten, twenty years from now. I get anxious and I feel like I’m running out of time. Not great.
Savor the flavors by eating seasonally
So how does eating seasonally embody the mindfulness state of mind?
By living in the moment and appreciating the here and now, you are forced to take things slowly, day-by-day. As a result, you become more aware of your surroundings; how the weather changes throughout the day, the smells of early spring vs late fall. You might notice the changes in the intensity of sunlight that streams into your house during different times of the year. Or maybe you hear baby birds chirping on spring mornings, and crickets chirping on summer evenings.
You may notice the exact day when a vegetable you’ve been missing all year makes its seasonal debut at your farmers market. (Tomatoes and strawberries are my favorite signs of summer!)
For example, I’ve never been a huge fan of cucumbers. They’ve always been an afterthought tossed in a salad to add a bit of crunch. But now that Nick and I try to eat more seasonally, I get super excited when I see cucumbers back at the market. And they taste BETTER than I remember them to taste. I eat them raw and really try to savor every deliciously refreshing crunchy bite.
[Not pictured: cucumbers. 😆]
Maybe I’m just a vegetable nerd but I don’t care. 😉
By eating seasonally, you have a heightened appreciation for those fruits and vegetables available during that particular time of year. You anticipate them.
The anticipation of something is arguably better than the thing itself.
And once you DO get to enjoy them again, you really savor each bite.
What is one thing you appreciate today?