Put a cap on your cravings
Want to meet a man with courage? He’s the one who stopped with one chip.
If craving makes you eat more than you need to, leading to weight gain, you’re on the right page.
There is no end to craving for your favourite food or addiction in search of happiness. Contentment is the best way to happiness. Some people are able to change the object of their craving. While they may have desired alcohol and cigarettes yesterday, today they desire appreciation and approval.
The idea is not to change the focus of your craving but to do away with it all together. If you binge eat instead of smoking that is not gaining victory over a vice! ‘What if you conquer the world but lose yourself?’
To overcome anything that you set your mind on, first observe; become aware of the issue. Whenever you get a craving to smoke, or to eat unhealthy food, deliberate and meditate on it. Take deep breaths and see it fade away. As you practice this you will have a 100% success rate.
Meditating on your inner voice
Whenever you have a strong craving, sit or lie down comfortably, observe your breathing up to a count of 50. Bring this awareness to your inner voice, listen to what it is telling you, and to its tone. Look at how one thought leads to another; every time your mind gets diverted gently get it back on track. Take control of your mind; don’t be controlled by it.
Ask yourself, ‘How will my craving help or benefit me?’
On occasions when you are content and don’t crave for anything to fill the void in your body, mind or life, observe yourself. Make a note of the immense stillness inside. The restlessness, the seeking and all negativities associated with it are gone. This is the beginning of the path to contentment.
The following ideas have been researched, documented and implemented by me for my clients to overcome their craving – be it for food, drinks, smoking or other cravings:
Ø Be internally motivated, have focus, self-love and self-confidence.
Ø Believe in yourself
Ø List your reasons to overcome your cravings in a diary; read these reasons every day.
Ø Stay away from the company that has the same cravings.
Ø Affirm positively, “From now on I am in charge of my life, and I choose to overcome my cravings and feel totally healthy and happy doing so”.
Ø Become aware of the cues that trigger your cravings, and record the times when you get those cravings.
Ø Make it difficult for yourself circumstantially to fulfil your cravings.
Ø When you desperately crave for a smoke, or drink, meditate on the act; become aware of the thought process, the body sensations and your feelings.
This form of meditation allows you to enjoy the things you love to eat by eating a morsel of it. When you get a chocolate, observe the way it is packed, feel the smell enter your nostrils and your lungs. Now touch the chocolate, feel its texture. Next, as you take a bite, close your eyes and bring your awareness totally on the act of eating, chew well and feel the chocolate melt in your mouth. Let it linger there. Now feel it gently slide down the throat in to your stomach. Become aware of your thoughts and associated feelings. This is no more only eating of the chocolate, but meditation in motion.
Ø Find out what works best for you – to gradually decrease your cravings or to stop altogether.
Ø Avoid triggers. If you feel like smoking immediately after a meal, keep yourself completely occupied at that time.
Ø Announce to your friends and family that you are in the process of overcoming your cravings.
Ø Find a friend who wants to overcome his/her cravings as well, and be supportive of one another.
Ø Pay attention to the way a person who has been able to overcome his cravings responds to stressful situations.
Ø Exercise regularly and increase your physical activity in the way you enjoy most.
Ø Relax more often by listening to music or enjoying your hobbies.
Ø Practise meditation twice a day for 20 minutes. It will give you added will power
Ø Do breathing exercises they will raise your immunity and make you feel rejuvenated.
Ø Do assertive visualization. Visualize yourself reaping the benefits of overpowering your craving.
Ø Make sure that the object of your craving is not easily available. If you want to stay away from high calorie food, stock your fridge and cupboards only with fruits, vegetables and low calorie healthy snacks.
Ø Choose a healthy craving instead of the harmful craving. Like instead of smoking you may choose to listen to music, go for walk or chew a chewing gum.
Ø Reward yourself for having overcome your cravings – treat yourself to something you like.
Ø If you still indulge in your cravings, don’t get frustrated. You are not a failure if you slip once in a while; you are a failure only when you give up your efforts to overcome your cravings completely.
Ø You need to remember the law of impermanence – ‘This too shall pass’. Do not even crave to overcome your cravings; just observe and take the necessary steps. It will disappear by itself; just be a master to your cravings and not a slave.
Mickey Mehta. The author is India’s Leading Holistic Health Guru