Who knew that the humble raisin could help overwrought brides-to-be relax and stay calm in the run up to the big day!
With winter wedding season in full flow, there’s no doubt that the most amazing day of your life can also be the most stressful. Not only do you want to look your most fabulous and host an “Instagram-worthy” event, disagreements with your parents and in-laws, and panicking about whether you might trip over as you walk down the aisle (graceful as always), there is no doubt it can push you to the edge.
The answer? A raisin.
Psychological health expert at AXA PPP healthcare, Eugene Farrell, explains why raisin meditation is the mindfulness exercise you need to know about to help keep you calm on your big day.
The exercise allows you to focus your mind on the present moment using all your senses. The idea is that by focusing all your attention on the tiny raisin, you help to bring your mind into the moment and train it to notice the present.
The lowly raisin has been a favoured occupant of the school lunch-box for generations. Nowadays, these unassuming grapes offer more than just a boost to our diet – they’re also a valuable tool in improving our mental well-being.
How do I practise raisin meditation?
Before you begin, find a quiet spot where you can sit down and relax. You might find taking a few deep breaths will help you loosen the body and bring your mind to your practise. Once you’re comfy, pick up the raisin and hold it in your hand.
- LOOK at the raisin:Really concentrate. Let your eyes roam over the fruit and pick out all the details– the colour, areas of light and shade, any ridges or shine. Before moving on, you might want to close your eyes, as this can heighten your other senses and help you focus.
- TOUCH the raisin:Feel its smallness in your palm. Explore the raisin’s texture with your fingers. Is the skin waxy? Are there any edges? It is soft or hard?
- SMELL the raisin:Bring it close to your nose and with your deep inhalations and exhalations, concentrate on any scents and fragrances you can detect. Does it smell sweet? Or perhaps earthy? Has this triggered your taste buds or made your tummy grumble?
- TASTE the raisin:Place it in your mouth, noticing how your hand instinctively knows where to go. Don’t chew yet, just spend some time concentrating on how the raisin feels on your tongue. Turn it over in your mouth and feel its texture on the roof of your mouth. Take one or two bites into the fruit, without swallowing it yet. Fix your mind on the sensations just released into your mouth. How does it taste? How does this develop as the moments pass? How has the raisin changed? Do the smaller pieces of fruit feel different?
- HEAR the sounds:You make as you chew it and swallow. Notice when you have really explored the sensation of the raisin in your mouth, notice your intention to swallow it and then follow with the physical action.
If you can, track the sensation of the raisin going into your tummy. Now take a moment to notice how your whole body feels and when you’re ready, start to awaken your mind. You might want to move the hands and feet a little, slowly open your eyes and take a few deep breaths.
With the meditation exercise complete, you can now focus on your big day and carry on when you’re ready.
NB: (If you don’t like raisins you can do this exercise with any food – even chocolate!)