Pizza and beer. Wine and chocolate. We know we can stop drinking but what about cravings? Let’s take a look at cravings and triggers and how to deal.
What About Cravings?
When you start thinking – what about cravings – it is equally important to think about triggers. It seldom happens that we experience a craving without a trigger. That is true for most everything in life. If you are low in iron – you will crave meat. So the first step in dealing with cravings is identifying the triggers. Triggers can be physical – like a specific location, or they can be emotional – like dealing with stress. Knowing what is triggering your craving can often be enough to overcome it. Being able to take stock of a situation and say – ‘It’s not really the alcohol I am craving, I’m really just feeling overwhelmed right now’, was a huge step for me.
Turn It Around
Turning 40 recently made me even more conscious of my health. I used to allow myself splurges when it came to what I ate, but I’ve really been working on that. I found myself at McDonald’s with the kids recently and realized that was a trigger for me. I wanted to order some fries because it is what I have always done. That isn’t me anymore though, and I needed to create a new association, so I ordered a salad instead with extra grilled chicken. It tasted great and I felt great about myself. (I did steal a few french fries and they actually made me feel awful!)
When a craving hits, rather than giving in to it, analyze it. Stop and let yourself process the craving, the trigger, and what you are feeling. Listen to your body and your mind. Be aware and be mindful. I know those are huge buzzwords right now, but I think that is because of how fast-paced our lives are. Rather than pushing the feelings away to deal with another time, give them the space they need.
Urge surfing is a technique created by the late psychologist, Alan Marlatt, Ph.D., a pioneer in the field of addictions treatment. An urge is an impulse to engage in an old habit, such as drinking or using, and urges are often experienced as physical sensations in the body. This is a great audio resource (about 9 minutes long) which will teach you the ‘Urge Surfing’ technique. You can use this recording during an urge, which makes it an incredibly valuable resource. The audio is available here.
Find out more about cravings and triggers. You can start reading This Naked Mind today.
If all else fails when cravings and triggers hit – get out. If it’s the location that is pulling you – leave. If it is an emotion – go for a run, hit the gym or go get a coffee. Change what you’re doing to find something that works for you in the moment.