Coffee & Mindfulness Practice
2021 has been tough. You don't need us to tell you that. For many of us, this year has taken a serious toll on our mental health, from increased anxiety to loneliness to depression. While we don't pretend to be experts in mental health, we do support the practice of mindfulness to help manage some of these emotions and center ourselves to take on the day.
Rooted in Buddhist and Hindu teachings, mindfulness is, according to Psychology Today, "a state of active, open attention to the present...observing one’s thoughts and feelings without judging them as good or bad...To be mindful is to observe and label thoughts, feelings, sensations in the body in an objective manner. Mindfulness can therefore be a tool to avoid self-criticism and judgment while identifying and managing difficult emotions."
A mindfulness practice can take on many forms including meditation or breathing exercises. It can also start with preparing and enjoying your morning cup of coffee.
Preparing coffee with manual brewer like a Chemex or V60 provides a fantastic opportunity to center yourself in the present. For a true mindfulness practice, bring awareness to the intention and action in making your cup with all of your senses including:
- Your feet on the floor
- The cool countertops on your hands.
- The smell of the coffee beans or grounds
- The heat coming from your kettle
- The steam on your face when pouring your water
- The sounds of coffee filtering through
- How your milk or sugar dissolves into the hot coffee
- And, of course, the taste of the coffee on each part of your tongue
Your mind will likely drift during the process and that is totally normal. When it does and thoughts interrupt, let them and then let them go. When you realize your mind is drifting from the present, focus on your coffee brewing process to bring it back.
At the end of the day, any activity can be a mindful one as long as we use that activity to bring our awareness to what we are doing and feeling in the moment, without judgement. Choosing a routine event like brewing coffee is great because it creates a consistent activity and time to devote to this practice daily.
As much as brewing is a fantastic way to clear our mind, it can also be a valuable opportunity to channel it. If you already embrace a meditative practice, consider using your morning coffee brewing time for other positive growth.
As you prepare your cup, take a few minutes to express gratitude for the work that went into preparing each coffee bean, from the land to the farmers. Furthermore, appreciate your own success and privilege that led you to be able to afford and acquire the coffee and tools in front of you.
It can be stressful to manage the stress that comes with a year of constant change. One of the ways to counter this stress is to reflect on the constants in our lives. Your morning coffee can certainly be one of these constants that doesn't go away and may provide a small but meaningful sense of stability in a rocky time.
Coffee is one of the first things we do each day. Use the 5-7 minutes that it takes to prepare your cup to set a positive intention for the day. As you wait for your coffee to brew, think about how you can channel your energy in a positive manner for yourself and others.
Like setting a positive intention, you can also use your brewing routine to set goals, work or personal. Meditate on 1-3 tangible goals you hope to achieve during the day.