If you are trying to break free from your unwanted habits and put them where they belong, in your past, then a good place to start is with your attitude and in particular, your attitude to the discomfort you feel when the cravings strike.
With a negative attitude, it is easy to just sit there and allow the wave of desire for the forbidden fruit to start slowly and then to grow in strength, depth, and magnitude until it engulfs your mind and body completely and you are left with no choice but to reach for the chocolate, wine, cocaine, nicotine, etc. (fill in your own addiction).
Your attitude to the discomfort of a craving can be the difference between success and failure in quitting that unwanted habit for good.
Understand that a craving is simply a desire for something you want but can’t or don’t want to have. It is a bright light of longing that burns brightly for something you love but can’t have. If it remains unfulfilled the light will begin to dim and fade and if you do not keep charging it up it will finally run out of power. The more you resist the weaker and weaker it becomes until it finally dies. Like a teenage crush on an unavailable woman or man, it faded away to become a memory of a time now gone when you met someone else that lit you up inside.
It is all part of the process of changing who you want to be and how much you want to change. If you want to get to the other side then you have to cross the craving barrier. There is no way around this hurdle, but with a positive attitude, it all becomes so much easier.
This is the point where you have a choice and where you are in control of shaping your new future. How you approach the challenge of quitting will make or break your decision. You can either feel sorry for yourself that you got into this situation and start the journey with a self-inflicted handicap, or you can embrace the cravings as part of the process of change, Each one is a hurdle that you have to jump over to get to the winning line and each is a little bit smaller than the previous one.
If instead of having a positive attitude that pushes you over the hurdle you sit there and moan about how hard this is, how you can’t cope with the discomfort then the craving will last longer and it is this attitude that will drive you back to your addiction.
Think of that first love again, you could spend hours in your bedroom playing sad music and mourning or you could do something else instead. Your choice is to dwell on the pain or to swap that old desire for something else that will drive you forward to your new life.
Cravings do not last, they come in like a wave, peak, and flow back out again. Unless you sit there with a negative attitude and encourage them to flow over you again and again. You have to give permission to the craving to allow it to hang around. It’s your choice to turn the strength of the craving up or down. It’s your choice to wallow in self-pity for a time now gone or to get up and do something else instead.
How to change your attitude when cravings strike
- Understand that a craving is simply a desire for something you no longer want. It is a habit that you have created and now you need to break it. The only way to stop any habit is to stop doing it, and in order to stop doing it you need to overcome the craving signals that your brain will send you to remind you that it’s time to act out your habit. That’s all they are, don’t make them into some ogre that you are unable to control, just allow them to come and go. They are a normal part of a healthy functioning brain.
- The quickest way to change how you are feeling is to change your posture. Stand up and put your hands in the air like a child that has just won a race on school sports day. Hold that posture for at least 2 minutes and notice how it changes how you feel. Notice how your thoughts shift away from the object of your desire.
- Focus on your new goal. What is it you want to achieve in your life now the addiction has gone? Make the desire for your new life as big as any old desire you had for that unwanted habit.
- Get some positive affirmations that you can repeat to yourself over and over again. Let your mind know that you no longer want this old habit in your life anymore. Phrase them in the positive – tell your mind what you do want in your life, not what you don’t.
- Practice a breathing exercise. Take a deep breath into where you can feel the craving in your body and breathe it out in short bursts and with each short burst imagine you have taken part of the craving and breathed it out of your body and let it float away. Keep doing this until you no longer feel the craving inside you.
With a bad attitude, you will never achieve anything. With a good attitude, you can reach for the stars. If you are struggling with an addiction always start with your attitude to see if you can improve it. Never let a little discomfort stand in the way of achieving your dreams.
“Rule your mind or your mind will rule you”Buddha