Tuesday, September 26, 2023 | 13:56 WIB

Mindful snacking helps maintain mental health


Jakarta, IO – The State of Snacking 3.0 survey discovers that 93% of respondents regularly snack to improve their mental health, while 72% respondents declare that they snack out for self-reward. Snacking is an activity perceived as a release from mental burdens, with 61% agreeing that snacking is really meant for self-joy or self-satisfaction. 

Saskhya Aulia Prima, M.Psi., psychologist and co-founder of the TigaGenerasi Psychological Home, states that snacking can become a good self-reward activity that maintains and boosts mental health. “Clinical research shows that chewing is a good way to reduce stress. Chewing stimulates the production of the hormone dopamine in the brain, the hormone that makes us happy,” she said during Mondelez’s media meet last Tuesday (08/03/2022). 

Snacking can serve as a good self-reward and relaxant after a day’s worth of hustles and burdens. “Self-reward can be a good thing, but we need to practice it properly. By rewarding ourselves, we give space for us to be ourselves, we give and get good feedback for ourselves, so we become motivated again,” Saskhya said. 

Self-reward is related to self-worth, self-acceptance, and self-confidence. However, snacking as self-reward – like any other activity – must not be performed too frequently nor too intensely. “Excessive snacking will cause a reversal from its original intent, i.e. blandness and loss of joy. It will also lead to obesity and a lot of health problems. Snacking as self-reward must be balanced with physical activity, and it must not cause us to lose a healthy lifestyle like regularly eating three balanced meals a day and sleeping regularly. Again, the keyword is balance – between self-reward, self-indulgence, and maintenance of physical and mental health,” Saskhya said. 

Saskhya states that positive snacking is mindful snacking. “This means that we focus on enjoying the snack in front of us, don’t do anything else in the meantime. We often snack while working, while scrolling social media posts, while this deprives our brain of the rest we should benefit from by snacking. That’s counter to the original purpose, as this habit will make our brain link snacking to working and processing social media information. Therefore, we should stop everything for a few minutes, enjoy the time solely for snacking. Make sure we enjoy it so much we know when we are physically, mentally, and emotionally satisfied. We also need to watch what exactly do we snack on and how much.” 

Finally, Saskhya said that everyone has different snacking needs and preferences. “Some of us prefer sweet snacks, others like savories. Some prefer heavy foods that can stave off hunger for a while, others just prefer to have something dainty to munch on. Make sure that you know what you are doing at all times – this is the ‘mindful’ part. Mind what you eat, when you eat, where you eat, how much, and with whom when you snack. Mind what taste you prefer to eat when you feel a certain emotion. Knowing what you feel and when and why during snacking is what helps you maintain your mental health,” she said. (est)


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