Our emotions and feelings exist on different levels and can be said to have varying vibrations or energy. These different levels cover a range of feelings from shame to joy and enlightenment. The level of desire can be experienced as a craving and if acted on can leave a person with feelings of disappointment. At a deeper level, these negative feelings can also be felt as regret and even blame.
A person struggling to manage their cravings can fall into negative patterns of behaviour. Cravings manifest in the desire for sex, food, drugs, prescription medication, alcohol, negative thinking, self-criticism, workaholism, gambling, and gaming or adrenalin rushes to control or change your emotions.
Cravings are actual physical compulsions or urges caused when dopamine, a neurotransmitter in the brain, is released. Dopamine is a chemical associated with emotional response, pleasure, or pain, which plays an important part in reward motivated-behaviour.
In full swing, cravings can be incredibly difficult to manage until a person develops techniques to avoid them as much as possible. If a person is unable to avoid cravings, they can eventually lead to full-blown addiction.
Addiction is a state in which a person finds themselves enslaved to a habit or practice, or something that is psychologically habit-forming, to such an extent that it can have a negative impact on a person’s life – their work, family, finances, relationships, body and mind.
Identifying and dealing with cravings at an earlier stage can help prevent the development of addictive behaviours later on. This process begins by learning to understand and becoming mindful our emotions as well as triggers for our cravings harmful patterns of behaviour. In so doing, a person can find ways to manage the different levels of their emotions, bringing them more into balance.
After trying unsuccessfully to deal with cravings a person may find themselves feeling bewildered and wondering why willpower alone does not help. They may also feel disappointed with themselves for falling into old habits. Along with the support of close relationships and in some cases entering rehabilitation programs, cravings can be addressed with treatments like Matrix Re-imprinting with Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT).
EFT is a form of counselling intervention that draws on various theories of alternative medicine including acupressure, neuro-linguistic programming, energy medicine, and Thought Field Therapy (TFT). Using acupoint stimulation, a person can use the tapping technique to focus the energy of their emotions to specific points in the body to reduce tension.
For example, a person suffering from anxiety may have a nervous energy that manifests physically in the form of constant foot tapping or nail biting. This same anxiety can also trigger cravings for food or substances etc. Tapping promotes a mind-body connection that helps make a person more aware of their cravings and the reactive desire to engage in the negative behaviour. Becoming aware of our behaviours and having the tools to manage our emotions help to deal with desires and cravings before we act on them.
When cravings become unmanageable and move to the stages of dependency and addiction it then becomes even more important to find support from 12 step programs and rehabilitation centers.
Working with emotions that manifest into addictive behaviour means dealing with fear, guilt, shame and many others. As we learn to manage of emotions of fear, guilt, shame and others that can lead towards addictive behaviour we then are able to move to higher levels of emotion where feelings of love, acceptance and courage exist.
The more we explore varying treatments the greater chance we have to address the underlying cause of our patterns of behaviour that can lead to addiction and dependency.
Cravings can be managed by keeping track of triggers and using techniques such as tapping. Remember to:
- Recognize your triggers
- Plan ahead
- Accept the urge
- Rational thinking
- Distractions and replacement
The recovery from addiction is possible with supportive relationships and tools. If you or someone you know are suffering from negative behaviour patterns and addiction, break the shell of isolation and reach out for help. As they say ‘Life begins on the other side of your comfort zone’.
Emotional Recovery Coach at Spiral Aloe Medical Spa