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Can’t Control Your Cravings? Try This!

We all have our “thing”. That thing we grab to quell our anxiety or soothe our depression.

And we’ve all had that day when nothing seems to go our way. . .

We reach for food or deny ourselves sustenance.
We grab a drink or a smoke.
We exercise compulsively.
Or we latch onto a relationship that’s not good for us.

Whatever it is . . .

We’re looking to relieve ourselves with INSTANT GRATIFICATION.

There’s nothing wrong with that. But, what IS wrong is that we feel badly about ourselves as a result.

In other words, what’s in our way is self-judgment.

As children, we wanted that cookie or toy NOW.
Sometimes we got that, sometimes we didn’t.
But either way, that moment was painful.
We cried, we screamed, we felt like our life was over.

Now, as adults, the trick when we crave something is TO ACCEPT that the craving is there.

Accepting is not acting out or letting our neediness misbehave. There’s an emotion there to look at and feel first BEFORE we grab that thing we crave.

(Oh hey – that rhymes! A little jingle to remember . . . )

If we lean into the anxiety and let it pass, our nervous system will slowly get more used to it and grow stronger.

THE TRICK:

Allow some time between the initial craving and surrender it up rather than gratifying it.

Focus your attention on something else. Meditate, take a walk, a bath, talk with a friend, do something creative, change it up.

Part of growing up is learning how to be with discomfort. Be kind with the old habit. It’s just an old habit. Allow more and more time before feeding it.

It fights back . . . Don’t we know it! That chocolate continues to cavil at us. Give it 5 minutes. Then 10. Then a half hour. Maybe a day. Keep strengthening your nervous system.

Think about what you would do with your own child. Rather than yell at her or him for acting out, be gentle. Get on your knees and give that child a hug.

That’s all we really want anyway.

May this week be full of relief!

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Lynn Newman