The Mindfulness Practice of Mindful Drinking
Mindfulness is a hot topic today and being mindful in all aspects of life has huge benefits for our health and happiness.
But, have you ever thought about being mindful with what you drink? How you drink it?
Like mindful eating, mindful drinking can enhance your experience. So often we blindly eat and drink and there is no enjoyment in that.
So, what better person to walk us through the practice of mindful drinking than Julie over at Bright and Brewtiful. Make sure to learn more about her blog at the bottom of the post.
What was the last thing you had to drink? Can you recall the moment? The experience?
Do you remember the taste of the beverage or the feeling of the liquid as it danced down your throat? If not, it might be time to try mindful drinking.
What is Mindfulness?
In this day of constant information, it’s more important than ever to practice mindfulness. Mindfulness, or the act of being fully present and aware, is the perfect tool for slowing down, focusing, and enjoying a moment in time.
While the concept is nothing new – people who practice Buddhism have been using it for thousands of years – “mindfulness” has recently become a buzz word synonymous with activities like meditation, yoga, and deep breathing.
The benefits of mindfulness have been widely touted, and for good reason. According to the most recent Gallup Emotions Report, 55% of Americans say they are experiencing daily stress. Lucky for us, multiple studies have found that practicing mindfulness can significantly reduce emotional tension.
If we can ease our stress by focusing on the present, what better time to do it than over a cup of tea?
Why Should You Practice Mindful Drinking?
For the past decade or so, therapists and nutritionists alike have suggested the act of mindful eating to help patients manage their relationships with food. However, being a mindful consumer doesn’t need to be about food or weight loss.
Instead of chugging an energy drink while churning out yet another email, what if you sat down over a cup of freshly-roasted coffee?
Could you take a moment out of your day to truly enjoy it?
Being conscious of what we put into our bodies – regardless of whether we’re talking about food or beverages – is a wonderful way to focus, slow down, and find joy in creating the life you love.
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How to Drink Mindfully in 5 Steps
Are you ready to try mindful drinking? Good!
Get a glass or mug of your favorite beverage – I recommend a hot cup of tea or an ice cold beer, myself – and find a quiet spot where you can be alone.
We’re going to explore five steps you can take to drink mindfully, from crafting the perfect space to enjoying your drink with all five senses.
Step 1: Create a Mindful Space
One of the main enemies of mindfulness is distraction. Have you ever tried to meditate, only to be interrupted by the ping of a text message or the sound of the television in another room?
To drink mindfully, you’ll want to:
- Create a space free from outside diversions
- Hide the phone, turn off the music, and let your body rest comfortably in silence.
This will create the perfect environment for your mind to focus on drinking the beverage in your hand.
Step 2: Reflect on the Process
As you begin to enjoy your drink, reflect back on how it got to you today.
Every beverage we consume started somewhere in the world as a seed and had to go on an epic journey to get to your glass.
Let’s look at the adventures that four of our favorite drinks have gone through…
If You’re Drinking Coffee
Think about the coffee farm. Imagine the hands that planted the berries in the beds, the trees that spent four years growing taller as they drank from the rain.
Consider the cherries being picked and dried in the sun. Think about the roasters turning the berries into coffee beans.
Imagine the coffee’s journey to arrive in your grocery store and its transformation into the beverage before you.
If You’re Drinking Tea
Take a moment to picture the green fields of Camellia sinensis. Imagine the leaves being gently harvested by hand and oxidized to evolve into black, green, oolong, or white tea.
Picture the journey across land and sea.
See the careful crafting of blends to create original flavors. Remember how the water soaked the leaves, and how their essences joined in the cup.
If You’re Drinking Beer
This one is my personal favorite. To start, imagine the ingredients. See the fields of barley shining golden in the sun? Can you smell the spicy hop blossoms on the bine?
Consider the grain being malted, the hops being dried.
Imagine the brewer testing her recipe again and again until she finds that perfect balance. Wait patiently as the beer ferments, transforming its sugars into alcohol by a scientific miracle.
If You’re Drinking Wine
Picture the rows of uniform grape vines soaking up the sunshine. Remember how the fruit used to be stomped by foot, and consider that tactile sensation of creating something with your own body.
Imagine the juice fermenting into wine, then being aged in barrels for months – even years – until it’s ready to be enjoyed.
This type of meditation on the process may feel difficult at first. However, it’s a wonderful introduction to your mindful drinking experience, as it primes you to truly consider and appreciate the moment.
Step 3: Take it Slow
Now that you’ve considered the history of the drink in your hand, remember not to rush.
All too often, I’ve found myself pouring a cup of tea and drinking it all, only to realize I hadn’t even noticed what I was doing. Talk about a lack of enjoyment!
To truly practice mindfulness, you need to take it slow.
- Recognize the movement of each sip.
- Notice how the level of liquid in the cup lowers as it fills your belly.
Most importantly, don’t get distracted! If you’ve created a mindful space, this should be easy. However, if not, you may find yourself eager to begin multi-tasking. Please don’t!
The more you focus on the drink at hand, the more you will benefit from your mindfulness.
Step 4: Check Your Senses
One of the best ways to practice mindful drinking is to consider your senses.
Life pro tip: This is also a wonderful way to ground yourself when you’re feeling anxious.
Go through each of the five senses and relate them to your drink to really enjoy the moment.
Take a gander at your glass. What does the drink look like? What does the color remind you of? Can you see bubbles on the top? Is it clear or opaque?
Take a sniff as your raise the glass to your lips. Does it conjure any memories? Is it sweet, roasty, bitter? Can you pick out any ingredients?
Listen to your beverage. What did it sound like to remove the cork from the bottle of wine? Can you hear the tiny fizz of bubbles popping in your beer? The pleasant clink of a spoon against the mug of tea, or the mug against a saucer?
Notice the solid feel of the cup or bottle in your hand. Feel the drink in your mouth. Does it coat your tongue pleasantly, or dry it out? Can you feel the warmth of the coffee as it travels through your body?
Finally, reflect on the taste of your beverage. Does it have a strong flavor, like an IPA, or is it something sweet and mild like oolong tea? Is it bitter, rich, roasty, or fruity?
Taking a mental journey through the five senses can be an excellent way to savor every sip. It can keep your mind from wandering, and help you to truly appreciate what you’re drinking.
Step 5: Practice Gratitude
My final mindful drinking tip is to practice gratitude.
We all know how important this is in everything we do, but how often do we forget to do it? While you may not yet keep a gratitude journal, you can at least practice it when you drink mindfully.
As you finish your beverage and slowly wash the cup, think back on the process again.
Thank the person who planted the coffee seeds or delicately picked the tea leaves.
Send a flash of appreciation to the brewmaster who crafted your beer or the vintner who grew your wine grapes.
Finally, give yourself a pat on the back. Be grateful that you showed up and spent some time in mindful self-care.
Appreciate the fact that you have hot coffee to wake you up and cold beer to relax with. Say thank you for this little moment of joy that you carved out of a hectic day.
Take Away: The Practice of Mindful Drinking
These days, people are becoming more conscious of what they drink. From non-alcoholic craft beers to trendy beverages like kombucha or coconut water, it’s clear that maintaining a healthy lifestyle is important to today’s consumers.
Taking things one step further by enjoying these beverages mindfully can do wonders for your mental health.
The next time you want to grab that cup of coffee at the office, take it to a quiet space. Spend a moment appreciating the journey it’s been on, and be sure not to rush. Notice the look, the smell, the taste.
Savor every sip, and say thank you for the burst of energy it gives you. Then, get back to work.
About Julie Walker:
Julie Walker has a mission to empower women to understand, appreciate, and create craft beer. She fosters a welcoming community for the beer curious through her blog, Bright and Brewtiful. When she’s not writing, she’s also a reader, mother, wife, gamer, baker, traveler, filmmaker, homebrewer, proud geek, community builder, and aspiring everything based out of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. You can find Bright and Brewtiful on Pinterest, Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.
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Related Mindfulness Articles:
- 5 Fun Mindfulness Exercises for a Happy Life
- How to Bring Mindfulness to Your Relationship
- How to Live a Life of Purpose, with Intentional Living