Mindfulness: A Secret Weapon Against Cravings?
If you haven’t heard of Mindfulness, it’s a form of meditation designed to bring greater awareness to your mind and body, allowing you to separate your thoughts from your emotions.
For years, Mindfulness has been used to help manage cravings; more recently, mindfulness-based interventions have been used to specifically target cravings to bring about relevant changes to behavior.
According to a new review from City University of London, mindfulness meditation strategies can help to prevent cravings for food and drugs including cigarettes and alcohol.
Dr. Katy Tapper, Author of the review and a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Psychology at City University of London said, “The research suggests that certain mindfulness-based strategies may help prevent or interrupt cravings by occupying a part of our mind that contributes to the development of cravings. Whether mindfulness strategies are more effective than alternative strategies, such as engaging in visual imagery, has yet to be established. However, there is also some evidence to suggest that engaging in regular mindfulness practice may reduce the extent to which people feel the need to react to their cravings, though further research is needed to confirm such an effect.”
Ready to give Mindfulness a try? Allow yourself at least 20 minutes and follow these three steps:
- Sit in a comfortable chair
- Put your attention on how you’re breathing
- When your mind begins to wander, bring your attention back to how you’re breathing
Practicing Mindfulness is simple, but not easy. Staying focused on your breathing keeps you in the present moment, but it can take 20 minutes or more to settle your mind. The more you practice, the better your ability to use Mindfulness as a tool to manage – possibly even prevent – cravings for the substances that challenge your recovery every day.