Self-care shouldn’t stop just because the festive season is over. With many of us back to work this week, lack of time becomes the main reason we don’t meditate. Meditation offers incredible benefits such as increased emotional health, reduced stress, enhanced self-awareness and controlled anxiety, but it can be hard to get into. We spoke to coffee expert, James Carter, from Coffee Direct who outlines how to make drinking coffee part of your morning meditation. These purposeful pauses (also known as ‘mini meditations’) offer the opportunity to bring your mind and body back to the present moment, without hindering your daily routine.
1) Soak up the sounds
So often we make coffee without giving the preparation a second thought. Our mind can drift off thinking about all the work we still have to do, and without realising, we don’t stop to enjoy our break. Mindfulness is our ability to be aware of what is going on both inside us and around us. The more we practice mindfulness, the stronger our habit will grow. Try to notice the process of creating your coffee from observing the coffee beans, to the trickle of hot water as you pour, to the whirring of the coffee machine. Simply soaking up the sounds around you will allow you to focus on the present moment, rather than becoming anxious or frustrated about future tasks.
2) Enjoy the aroma of your coffee
Smelling the ‘right’ aromas can help us feel happier. For example, we know lavender can help reduce stress, but how does the aroma of coffee help boost our mood? The smell of coffee hits our scent receptors and acts as a powerful brain trigger, generating good memories and feelings. Some studies have found that the scent of coffee can cause a placebo effect of enhanced responsiveness and an increase in performance. No wonder the saying goes ‘wake up and smell the coffee’.
3) Sit somewhere quiet
We recommend that you drink your coffee in a meditation area. This can simply be a quiet space that is right for you – whether that’s your bedroom, conservatory or even in the corner of your living room. Just make sure that this is a space without anything that may disrupt your practice. A cluttered space can also clutter your mind, so ensure your chosen spot is clean before you meditate.
4) Feel the warmth of the coffee in your hands
Holding a hot cup of coffee warms your hands on a cold day – but it may warm your heart as well. According to a famous study published by Williams and Bargh, when our hands are warm, we think differently about other people. Their research found that those who held warm drinks are likely to be more generous and have more favourable opinions of others, whereas those who held cold things acted more cold. This indicates that feeling the warmth of the coffee cup may improve your mood, whilst providing a pleasant, soothing feeling.
5) Hold the taste
The good thing about coffee is that you cannot guzzle it, it has to be taken slowly. Inhale the aromatic flavours as you sip your coffee, and allow yourself to really pause and enjoy the taste. Once the coffee has cooled slightly, and you have reached the optimum comfortable drinking temperature, begin taking longer sips. Before you swallow, hold the taste of the coffee in your mouth for a moment, so you can appreciate and savour the different tastes and essences. After you have finished drinking, take a few deep breaths before you get up and on with your busy day. Try the 7-11 breathing exercise where you breathe in for 7 seconds and out for 11. This is a quick technique to help you relax and gain composure in a variety of situations.