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November 30, 2015

Savor Your Next Drink in 5 Mindful Steps.

Flickr/Denise Mattox

These days, everyone is cultivating mindfulness—mindful eating, mindful running and even mindful reading—but, have you ever considered mindful drinking?

Mindful drinking is the present-minded, purposeful consumption of a beverage. This can be any beverage—from water to wine.

This practice isn’t some hip, modern phenomena. For many, it’s been a way of life for centuries. Since ancient times, yogis would begin their day with mindful drinking. They would take a cup of water that had been sitting in a copper vessel overnight (copper ionizes the water), and consume it with purpose. With each sip, they would visualize the water flowing through their body—passing through each organ and hydrating each cell.

Yogis would also attach positive affirmations and gratitude to this water: “Thank you healing water, for hydrating my cells and keeping me healthy.”

Drinking without purpose has become a part of our daily lives. We chug our coffee, and throw back a few drinks, without a second thought to our digestion and overall wellness. Did you know that a large glass of wine has about the same amount of calories as an ice cream cone? Crazy, right? And on average, people consume a couple glasses of wine when dining out.

A few years ago, I had a job that required me to attend many social functions and mingle with clients. These mingling shindigs included trays of tasty beverages being passed around—alcoholic and nonalcoholic. By the end of the events I couldn’t remember how many beverages I had “sipped” while schmoozing.

One evening, while standing with co-workers debating current affairs, my eyes were drawn to a woman sitting at a nearby table with some friends. She was leaning back in her seat, with a glass of wine in her hand. Every time she was about to take a drink from her glass, she would close her eyes (for a second), take a nice inhale and then a slow sip. I think it took her the entire evening to drink that one glass of wine.

She was drinking mindfully—enjoying the aroma and texture—consuming that beverage like it was the tastiest wine on earth. That night, I became acutely aware of my guzzling nature, and I made a commitment to myself—to change my behavior, right there and then. Now when I consume a beverage, I truly taste every flavor, which leaves me satisfied and content with what I’ve had.

The beauty of mindfulness is that it does not conflict with any beliefs or traditions—religious or cultural. In fact, mindfulness nicely complements them. It is simply a way to be present and aware of our actions in the here-and-now.

Would you like to give mindful drinking a try? Next time you’re out at a social event and order a glass of wine (or any other beverage), practice these simple steps. Try it for a few outings (especially those holiday parties coming up), and notice the shift in your drinking behavior and overall enjoyment.

1. As you enter the venue to meet your friends, first and foremost, take notice of your surroundings. Oooh, those chandeliers are so pretty! I love the feel of these benches! Mmm, these candles smell like apple pie…

2. Pay attention to what you’re going to eat. Try to consume a beverage that will complement your meal—one that can elevate the taste of the food.

3. Once your beverage arrives—before taking the first sip—take note of its color, the glass it’s in, the texture, the smell. Does it bring back any nice memories? Maybe that Piña Colada transports you back to that incredible vacation you took to the Caribbean last year?

4. Slowly bring the glass to your lips—stop! Take in one last breath—really let the fragrance seep in.

5. Okay, you can now take a sip. Let the beverage sit on your tongue before swallowing. How does it taste? Is that a hint of chocolate in this wine? Enjoy it. Relish it. There is no need to gulp your drink—it’s not going anywhere.

And lastly, but most importantly, as you mindfully consume your favorite drink, (whether it’s water, coffee or a sangria) remember to give thanks. Thanks for your health, thanks for your meal and thanks for your beautiful life.

Cheers!

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Relephant: 

Mindful Drinking? (Vajrayana tradition: Alcohol & Buddhism)

 

Author: Mantreh Atashband

Editor: Yoli Ramazzina

Photo: Flickr/Denise Mattox

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Mantreh Atashband