How To Manage Cravings

  Craving – wanting, yearning, something that you don’t have right now.

We all experience cravings. Mine can sometimes crop up in the form of being on a hot beach, cake and new clothes!

Cravings can work for us when we use them as a motivation to take action towards our dreams but most of the time they can be pretty detrimental. Taking us out of the present moment, giving us a feeling of lack and a sense that all is not well, right now. Serious cravings from addictions can completely over take your mind and body.

Cravings loose strength over time, just as everything in life they will eventually pass, so it's a case of finding techniques to manage them when they are at their strongest.

The present moment is one of the keys to help overcome cravings. Being in the moment helps you to think and make choices clearly. Rather than focusing on what you don’t have, look at what you do have.

Ask yourself “what am I grateful for in my life right now?”

If you find yourself in a state of wanting “more” of something…..look at what you already have.  It's easy to get stuck in a trap of wanting more of something you already have enough of, a classic example is clothes. Every season new clothes come out in the shops which can lead to the feeling that the current ones you have are not good enough any more, you have nothing to wear, you must have that new...... I find when I weed through my clients wardrobes they are always shocked at how much they do have and always find outfits they had forgotten they had. As a result the shopping list they had created reduces in size.

Ask yourself "where do I already have X (what you want more of) in my life right now?". Sometimes you can find it in the most unexpected places.

If it's a physical craving, wanting something you have given up, what healthy thing could you replace it with? I know when I have had spells of doing detoxes then finding something to replace the sugar cravings is a must. Cinnamon, liquorice tea, cleaning my teeth, going out for a walk and having a nap all have helped when my body is aching for something sweet.

Giving up a strongly addictive habit like drugs or alcohol ( would include sugar and caffeine in this too)? Then making a list of all the reasons why you are giving it up to read when you are craving will help to remind you why it's so bad for you.

Delay making a decision, if you are craving something tell yourself I'll look at this again in 30 mins/ 1 hour/ tomorrow to see how I feel then. Sometimes just in delaying it, by the time you think about it again it will have weakened or passed.

The Vipassana meditation technique teaches that everything will pass, our bodies, as life, are constantly changing. Rather than resisting feelings just observing them, accepting them for what they are and being with them helps to weaken them.. Eventually they will fade away and something else will come in its place. A way to observe the feelings are to notice the sensations they create in your body. Just notice them, that's all you have to do. You don't need to try to change them.

Over time as you resist giving into the craving, resist reacting to it, you will start to change your thought and behaviour patterns. Every time you don't indulge it will be a little bit easier the next time you have a craving.

I like to think of will power as a muscle and believe it's important to keep strengthening it. Every now and then it's good to give up something for a while, or work towards a goal that requires your will power. Strong will power will help you to achieve anything.

If you are really struggling with your cravings seek help, whether it's a friend you can call in need or a professional. You have the power within to take control of your life but sometimes it's good to get a little help along the way to remind you of this.