And it’s not easy.
But here’s a new approach. We have always said that we need to replace an old habit with a new one. But what if we could simply “turn the switch off” and knock that old habit on the head. We can. By revisiting Mindfulness.
Let’s think about those habits. Most of the time we are indulging the behavior because we’re not feeling so good. We could be tired, stressed, bored, frustrated, anxious or sad. We reach for the food, the wine, Facebook, the cigarettes…We use the habit as a way of coping. And this is where mindfulness begins its work. By noticing what is going on for us, and paying attention to the cycle we have got into, we can start to change things. But the important point is that we need to pay attention but not judge.
So here is a step by step approach to using mindfulness as a way of breaking the cycle.
Note the craving, recognize the feeling and avoid rationalizing it
Accept that the craving is there. Don’t do anything about it, just accept it. Don’t try to ignore it or distract yourself, just accept it.
Get curious and notice how you feel. Identify your thinking and remember, your thoughts are not you!
Make a mental note of how you feel – or even better write it down! Use a word or phrase and put a label on it. When you give a feeling a name, it calms your brain.
You are now in a better place to “surf the craving” and you may well find you can ride it out and it passes on its own. The trick is to become more aware, mindful about what is going on at the time the behavior is about to kick in. The more we become interested in what is happening in our minds and bodies, turn towards our experience rather than away from it, the sooner we can take control back of our actions, and our life.
REFERENCE: The Craving Mind, Judson Brewer
Barking up the Wrong Tree, Eric Barker.