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Happiness tip - Just Eat - Christine Carter

Happiness Tip: Just Eat

I know, I know — you’re thinking this happiness tip is pretty bogus. I mean, who doesn’t feel happier when they eat? Am I really advocating food-as-joy?

Maybe: It’s all in how food is consumed. How often do you eat breakfast standing up or in the car? Do you eat lunch in front of your computer, at your desk, or buried behind a book? How often do you just eat, without also doing something else?

In the wild (or, say, kindergarten), we mammals naturally take breaks to refuel with a snack or a meal. Don’t squander this natural rest period by wolfing down your lunch while you read your email, or by sipping a latte while driving to work and calling that breakfast. Practice eating mindfully, paying attention to your food and the people you are with. Notice what you are eating and how quickly or slowly. Breathe. Relax. You will feel more calm and content.

Take Action: If you rarely just eat without also doing something else, start small. Perhaps commit to savoring your food for the first 5 bites, or maybe 5 minutes of every meal. Or to eating one lunch a week by yourself, not at your desk, with no distractions.

Join the Discussion: When is it most difficult for you to stop multi-tasking during meals? What techniques work for you? For example, I have a hard time sitting down during breakfast with my kids — I’m always tempted to rush around helping them make their lunches while I drink a smoothie standing up. I’ve solved this by allowing 15 minutes longer than I really need, so that there is nothing for me to do but sit down and have breakfast with my family.

Photo courtesy of Gexydaf.


  1. Sam says:

    I don’t so much multi-task as get up a million times during my meal. 🙂 I make the food, so I’m always opening the refrigerator, going to the stove, etc. I rarely have a meal where everything is already in front of me. Maybe that would help me eat more mindfully. Incidentally, I’ve heard that some people eat a whole meal in 20 minutes, but my meals generally last about an hour.

  2. Jay says:

    Not only be mindful while eating but also be mindful before eating. Using mindfulness to get in touch with your body allows you to know when you are truly hungry or just having cravings or it could even be gas!

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