Cravings and how to stop them controlling you!

A craving can be defined as a “strong desire to consume a substance or an intense desire for a particular thing” they usually come in waves and when you feed them or give in a certain level of satisfaction is reached. When these patterns continue a habit is created, which can be very difficult to break without the proper support and help.

In relation to food or other feel good substances such as alcohol, social drugs, cigarettes and so on we have adapted an association with the feelings these products give us. What does this mean you ask? Let me explain…when you get the craving, basically you are looking for some need within you to be fulfilled whether it is that quick fix to help you feel more alert, more energetic, more satisfied, more calm, more in control etc. You are not actually looking for the cigarette or the bar of chocolate or the glass of wine you are looking for the perceived benefits or feelings in which the substance gives you. e.g you may think you feel more calm after a cigarette, or you may think you feel more energised after a bar of chocolate or packet of biscuits. Therefore you are really using the chocolate, drugs or whatever as the tool in order to give you this better feeling.

This is where the problem begins though as it soon becomes a negative self-destructive habit for so many reasons, it is only a short quick fix, which results in ups and downs and slumps in energy levels, ratty mood swings, poor sleep, weight gain, breakdown in relationships, poor work performance, self-criticism, ill-health and lots more!!! Long-term these quick fixes are not solved as the root of the craving in the first place is not being addressed.

No matter what the craving there is more often than not an emotional link with it. This comes up all of the time with my clients, and soon we discover the real reason behind the craving. Sometimes the craving can be associated with a trauma or incident in your childhood, it can be linked to lack of self-worth, the craving can fulfil that something which was and perhaps still is missing in your life, whether that is encouragement, support, attention, love, whole-some food and so on. For this week I would like you to start identifying if you crave, what do you crave and when do you crave it, what patterns are there…write them down and see how often it is happening. When the craving comes up, see if you can do something different to help you let go and break the habit. Think of your inner strength and believe that you can do anything you want to do, see you next week for part 2.