How to clear the clutter with a Malteser

Wednesday, 6th August, 2014

3d white people in a coconut paradiseThe end of term has come and gone, and we’re well into the summer break … So how are you doing with winding down and enjoying the moment?

Have you totally managed to switch off, and are now fully engaged in something different?

Or is your head still full of last term’s clutter?

If it’s the latter, you need a Malteser!

“Just the one?” you might well ask. Yes, with an option for more … Bear with me, I will explain.

Living in such a busy world as we do, we’re usually either thinking/worrying about the past … something we could have done differently, or something we didn’t do that we should have done. Or we’re focusing on the future … what we’re going to do, how/when we’ll do it.

We rarely spend time just being present and enjoying the moment, being mindful of what’s happening right now.

‘Mindfulness’ is a hot topic now and you’ll find more and more books on the topic in all good book stores and online. Some of my favourites include:

There’s plenty of research and articles which detail how being mindful (and mindfulness exercises) can reduce stress, improve focus and decision-making, and help us to be more resilient, among other things. There’s also more and more emerging about the use and benefits of mindfulness in the classroom.

Although this post isn’t a discussion about what mindfulness is, briefly I’ll offer a definition and if you want to read more on this topic, try the books above and links here as starting points.

A popular definition of mindfulness from Jon Kabat-Zinn (1994) is:

(Mindfulness is) paying attention in a particular way: on purpose, in the present moment, and non-judgmentally.

So getting back to the Malteser … The following exercise is a great way to focus your attention on the here and now. Try it out and let me know how you get on!

Chocolate Malt BallsThe Malteser Mindfulness Meditation

Before you start, make sure your hands are reasonably cool – we don’t want that chocolate melting too soon!

  1. Take your Malteser and place it in the palm of your hand.
  2. Imagine this is the first time you have seen one, and suspend all judgement you might have previously had about it. Adopt a new curiosity about it.
  3. Now engage all your senses, following the guidelines below, to explore the Malteser.
  • Look carefully at it – what do you notice?
  • What does it look like?
  • What do you notice about its surface?
  • What colour(s) can you see?
  • How big/small is it in relation to your palm?
  • How does it sit on your palm?
  • What does it feel like?
  • What textures can you feel?
  • If you squeeze it gently, what happens?
  • Bring it up to your ear and roll it between your thumb and fingers. What, if anything, can you hear?
  • What does it smell like?
  • Put it in your mouth and let it rest on your tongue. What do you notice?
  • Roll it around your mouth
  • Bite into it – what happens?
  • Finish eating it, noticing the sensations you experience.

So how did you get on?

You may want to repeat it so you can master the technique, and see if your experience is different the 2nd time around. (I did say there may be an option for more than one!) 

Of course, there are other foods that lend themselves to this exercise. The one you will read about most is the ‘Raisin Meditation’ which inspired the exercise above.heap of sultana raisins on white background

celery on a white backgroundOr there’s the healthy celery option …

Or if you’re feeling less healthy, try the Ferrero Rocher option!

Two chocolate bonbons.

The choice is yours, but I’d suggest perhaps not doing it with a Rowntree’s Fruit Pastille (“Gotta chew!!”) 

At the end of the day, the idea is to get an idea of what being mindful is about.

To finish – and see the impact this has had – turn your attention to your surroundings now and see how more focused on them you can be.

I’d love to hear how you got on with this exercise, and which other foods you tried it out on. Feel free to let me know in the comments box below :-)