The Mindfulness Blog

Curbing Your Cravings with Mindfulness

mindful eating mindfulness May 11, 2024
Practice Mindfulness to Curb Your Cravings

Have you tried everything you could to resist cravings without any luck?  As we all know though a la Star Trek: The Next Generation - resistance is futile. 

Telling yourself that you absolutely can’t have a particular food can backfire.  Cravings generally don't disappear when you deny yourself completely what you crave.  Instead, the craving may actually get stronger. 

And there are many reasons why your cravings are so stubborn. if you eat a lot of ultra-processed food, for example, it is harder for your body to recognize when you’re genuinely full, making you crave more. Various mindful eating practices, like those covered in the Mindful Mealtime Audio Series, can help you turn the tables on cravings. 

Cravings don't just show up in your eating habits though, right? We can crave drugs and alcohol, nicotine, sex, love, attention, validation, praise... In excess, these cravings can cause deep harm to us physically and emotionally and can ruin relationships at home or at work. Like mindful eating though, other mindfulness practices can help you gain awareness on when, why, and how your cravings are triggered (where appropriate with the guidance of a licensed medical or mental health care provider). It can also help you accept, instead of fight, the existence of the craving and sever the connection between the trigger and the automatic reaction. This will help you create new default patterns in the brain. 

Where the craving isn't simply a product of an ingrained habit, an underlying question is what are you really hungry for?  What need do you really want met? Water because you're thirsty instead of food, human companionship instead of potato chips and ice cream, higher level of magnesium instead of chocolate, rest instead of sugar, signs that you are appreciated by your employer and that your skills are valued instead of acting out and undermining co-workers, love instead of superficial connection? 

I invite you to give some thought to what you crave and what you are really hungry for and explore more how mindfulness can support you on your journey. 

Learn more about how you can integrate mindfulness into your life with the Practice Mindfulness Everyday Guide.


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