The Importance of Pausing

Earlier this week I read an article that gave advice on how to practice mindful eating on Thanksgiving Day.  The holiday has now passed, but but I would like to reflect on two highlights from the article that provide helpful advice for living mindfully as we now enter into the potentially stressful holiday season. The first point the article made about eating mindfully was the importance of pausing on a regular basis while eating a big meal.  The “Eating Pause,” as the article referred to it, is important because it takes time for our brains and bodies to realize that they have had enough to eat.  If we fail to take an “Eating Pause” from time to time, we are likely to eat too much, only realizing that we have over eaten when we finally stop.

This struck me as good advice, and a good metaphor, for how to live during the next four weeks.  To live mindfully, we need to remember to create times to pause, times to reflect on whether we are trying to do too much, buy too much, or eat too much.  Creating “living pauses” will help us to not arrive at Christmas  “stuffed” and exhausted.

The second point the article made was how important it is to learn to recognize one’s “hunger signals.”  This is related to the “Eating Pause” as it helps us to listen more closely to our bodies and to separate out true hunger signals from other feelings, ones that may drive us to eat more than we really want or need.

Again, this is great advice for living mindfully through the holiday season.  Take some time now to listen to your own “hunger signals.”  I know for myself that what I really hunger for this time of year cannot be satisfied by something bought at a shopping mall or by filling up my schedule with a multitude of activities.  I know that my deepest hunger is for spiritual, emotional, and relational connection and satisfaction.

Whether you chose to eat mindfully or not on Thanksgiving, I invite you now to join me in living mindfully as we approach Christmas, which is just four weeks away.  Taking time to pause and recognize what will feed our deepest hungers is what will help us create a meaningful holiday season, one where we are not uncomfortably full, but are indeed well satisfied.