How To Deal With A Craving: Hit The Reset Button
The way I see a craving is this: We are hit with an emotional trigger, causing us anxiety or some other discomfort we prefer to avoid. Due to habitual associations made over time with food, taste and pleasure, we shift right to autopilot, seeking answers elsewhere, outside of ourselves. That’s all it is, a habit on autopilot, a learned pattern that leads us to feel good and relieved by feeding our emotions, such as worries and fears.
When feeling like a, b, or c, we need to feed it with x, y or z. Now, of course, there are exceptions here, such as chemical imbalances or reactions to certain medications; but how often, realistically, is this the case? Can the pattern be broken?
The good news is there is always light at the end of the tunnel. A possible avenue to explore: You are hit with a craving. Instead of moving directly into autopilot mode, hit the brake, hard, and stop. Reverse, reset, and break the pattern. In this moment, where is your head? Is it still stuck on yesterday, or is it already jumping into tomorrow? Most likely you are not fully present and living in the here and now.
Ask yourself, “What do I really need right now?” Chances are it is not what the autopilot is leading you, or urging you, to stuff into your mouth. Possibly what you really are looking for is something like a hug, a foot rub, a call from a friend, or some form of human connection. Maybe it’s water, breath or rest.
Take a moment — a mental and physical time out. Relax your eyes and face. Loosen your shoulders and hands. Shake out your wrists. Get in touch with physical body in the present moment, and connect your body to your mind. There really is something to this mind-body stuff, and conquering your cravings is a big part of it!
Now ask yourself what you need to feel right now. If it is, in fact, hunger talking to you, listen within to what it is you really need to taste to be fulfilled, or to ingest to increase your energy, and operate at an optimal level. When we don’t check in, and listen within, we may succumb to that craving, which oftentimes isn’t feeding us what we really need on a physiological level, leaving us feeling lower than optimal, emotionally and physically. We are left wondering why we are not at the top of our game, disappointed with life and ourselves. This can bleed over into many aspects of life, not just physical functioning and energy management; not just burning out on that workout you had planned, but also at work, academics, decision-making, relationship management, etc.
If your body is not, in fact, hungry and in need of nourishment, ask, “What do I need to feel right now?” Again, check in, and listen in. Your body is always talking to you, and it will always send you the message of what it needs; we just need to stop and take a moment to listen. The thing about listening to our truth is that we need to be present, not stuck milling over the past or worrying about the future. We will hear the message, the gift, the truth of what we need to give ourselves. When we make this our habit, our “autopilot,” things start to happen in our life. Amazing things may start happening, and not just with cravings, and we make better food choices. This can open us up to doing and choosing the right things for us in many areas.
Changing our “autopilot” mode — our habits — can be difficult at times, but if we are committed to doing the work and being honest with ourselves, it will pay off. Challenge yourself. Question your instincts next time you are craving that thing you know you don’t really need. Amazing things can happen if we are willing to try, trust and do the work. Enjoy the road ahead!