Published on December 12, 2019

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Photography by Linda Denaham

You’ve finished your work, packed your bags, and arrived at the airport at a reasonable—even early—time to catch your flight for a much-deserved holiday break. And then it happens. An attendant approaches the gate and announces a delay. It’s hard not to get frustrated in these kinds of moments, whether you’re stranded on a train that’s not moving or getting queasy in the passenger seat of a car stuck in traffic. Don’t panic—use this easy trick to restore your peace of mind in just a few minutes.

You’ll need a raisin. Or, really, any kind of snack (a muffin from the airport Starbucks or a bag of popcorn from a nearby Hudson News). For about 10 to 15 minutes total, hold the food in your hand and just look at it. Touch its surface; what does it feel like? Smell it. Bring it up to your ear and, if possible, squish it a little. Does it make a sound? Finally, hold it to your lips. Notice the texture. Then place it in your mouth. Hold it there for a couple seconds, and then chew, slower than you’ve ever chewed anything before. Congratulations: You’ve just meditated. 

This technique, developed as a part of the Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction program by Professor Jon Kabat-Zinn, is something that Sandrine Gouallier teaches in her meditation sessions at Paris’s Hotel du Louvre, a hotel in Hyatt’s Unbound Collection. “In this exercise, we discover that when we pay attention, an ordinary experience can become very rich,” she says. “It enables us to live our life more fully and come back to the here and now.”

Especially when you’re stressed on the go and can’t imagine closing your eyes for 10 minutes of more traditional meditation, focusing your attention on the way all six senses interact with a single morsel is a much more feasible method of melting away your growing anxiety. “Meditation helps you to accept your situation as it is. It helps you to cultivate patience, which is useful for travelers,” says Gouallier. “Senses and the body are a door to the present moment.”

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