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An Afternoon of Mindful Snacking

by Gabriela Diller, Founder of Lotus Advocacy

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When it comes to stress, there are two important nervous systems working together in our bodies. One is called the sympathetic nervous system, which people remember as the “fight or flight” response. This is howthe nervous system that would be activated if we were to see a bear while hiking. We would immediately jump into survival mode – racing heart, sweaty palms, on high alert, and ready to run or fight to stay safe. The other nervous system is the parasympathetic nervous system, also known as “rest and digest,” which regulates things like our heart rate and digestion. The sympathetic nervous system is like the gas pedal, whereas the parasympathetic is like the brakes. One increases energy for stress and exertion. The other conserves energy and signals relaxation. 

Sometimes our brain tricks us to think we need to activate the sympathetic nervous system like when we’re late and stuck in traffic, or when technology breaks. Our heart might race, our breathing might increase and the body might become tense. But we are not actually in danger. There is no bear. So we need our toolbox of meditation, mindfulness, and breathing to activate the parasympathetic nervous system and train the brain to calm down. 

Pull out the snacks, and follow these instructions for some mindful eating with your child.

  • Directions: Find a snack and hold it until we are all ready. Sit comfortably with your feet flat on the ground if you’re in a chair or sit on the floor criss-cross applesauce. Close your eyes or gaze down. Take a few deep breaths to ground yourself. Breathe in through the nose, out through the mouth three times. Then engage your regular, steady breathing. Take a small bite of the snack and ask yourself these questions
    • What does it taste like? Is it…
      • Salty
      • Sweet 
      • Sour
      • Bitter
      • Buttery
      • Tart
      • Tangy
      • Spicy
    • Describe the texture. What does it feel like? Is it…
      • Smooth
      • Rigid
      • Bumpy
      • Tough
      • Soft 
    • How does it feel in the different parts of your mouth?
      • Do you notice a difference between the taste on the tip of your tongue versus the back of your tongue?
      • How does it feel on the roof of your mouth?
      • How does it feel on your teeth? 
    • What’s the temperature? Is it…
      • Icy
      • Hot
      • Cool
      • Warm
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