- A drink that can be enjoyed by everyone
- One cup per student
- Place one drink in front of every student.
- Ask students to keep their hands in their laps until you begin the practice.
Begin by placing your left hand on your stomach and your right hand on your heart.
Let’s take two deep breaths together.
As you breathe in, notice how your hands rise as the air fills your lungs.
As you breathe out, notice how your hands fall as the air leaves your body.
Wonderful. Take another breath in, this time noticing where in your body you feel discomfort.
As you breathe out, imagine that you are breathing all of that discomfort out of your body.
Great job. Let’s take a moment to think about all five of our senses. We have the ability to see, smell, hear, touch, and taste.
Today we’re going to practice eating using all five of our senses to experience the food.
Remember not to drink the [drink] until I tell you to.
First take a moment to examine the [drink] with your eyes first. Look at it up close. Now, look at from another angle. Try looking at just a part of the [drink]. Then look at the whole thing. Does your experience with the [drink] shift as you examine it from different perspectives?
Now explore the [drink] with your nose. Bring it toward your nose and take a small sniff. Now breathe it in deeply. Move it farther from your nose and then bring it back closer.
Now take a moment to listen to the [drink]. Does it make any noises? Soda, for example, often makes a fizzing sound. Place your ear up close. Do you hear anything?
Now begin to taste the [drink] very slowly. Let the liquid sit on your tongue for a while. Does the taste change as you hold it in your mouth? How does it feel when it travels down your throat?
Pause for a moment before you take the next sip. Notice how your tongue feels. Notice the [drink] going down your throat toward your belly. Feel the sensations that arise throughout your body as you drink. Is it hydrating?
Now take a deep breath in, and then let it out. Notice how you feel after that experience.
You do not need to read the included script verbatim. Adapt the language so that it is appropriate for your students in particular.
Some of your students may be hesitant to try a new food and say that they dislike the food. If this situation arises, consider using some of the suggestions below to help you respond to the student(s).
Reassure the student that you are not going to force them to eat the food. Then invite them to participate in the experiment using their other four senses (omitting “taste”).
Ask the student whether they have ever changed their mind about food. Is there something that they like to eat now that they did not like before?
Let the student know that they can always change their mind and choose to give this food another chance, even if they choose not to do so today.
For younger students, invite them to imagine that they are aliens who just landed on the planet. Invite them to pretend that they are observing the food for the very first time.
If time allows, bookend this experience with group discussions. Before introducing the exercise, discuss the similarities and differences between drinking and mindful drinking. This will offer them a foundation from which to engage the exercise. Once students have completed the practice, invite them to reflect on their experiences.
Younger students may enjoy a simplified version of this exercise. Consider using the script below.
Today we are going to use our five senses to experience the [drink] in front of you.
Start out by looking at the [drink] with your eyes. What do you see on the top of the [drink]? Are there bubbles? Can you see right through it?
Now put the [drink] up to your nose. What do you smell? Does this [drink] have a special smell to it?
Let’s not forget about our ears. I know this seems silly, but I want you to listen to the [drink]. Maybe bubbles are making a fizzing sound. Maybe you don’t hear a thing, and that’s okay.
For touch, take one finger and gently place it into the [drink]. How does it feel? Is it cool or warm?
Now we are going to taste the [drink]. Take a small sip, and let the [drink] sit on your taste buds. How does it feel? How does the [drink] taste?
As you finish the [drink], take some time to enjoy it. Don’t just drink it in one huge sip. Relax and let some more thoughts come into your mind.
Great job, everyone! How was it? What did you notice? Was the [drink] tastier than you expected?
Authors: Megan Downey and Anna Basile
Adapted from: Compassionate Schools Project