I recently stumbled across a TED talk by Mandy Saligari and she said something that got me thinking about cravings and addiction:
"Addiction is the pattern of delegating your emotional process to something outside of yourself that backfires on you!"
We all get a craving for some things (or a lot of things!) through different stages of our lives... fattening food, sugar- laden treats, alcohol, sex, tobacco… the list goes on! It’s all dependant on the individual’s constitution, stress levels and environment.
So let’s take a look at the most common cravings humans tend to experience:
People are more likely to crave sugar when they’re busy, stressed and tired. Their body is looking for a sugar hit from a high GI food such as chocolate or sweets. However, what goes up must come down so if you choose sugar as your 3pm pick-me-up, you will feel a buzz for a little while but it will be quickly followed with an energy crash.
Coffee, like sugar cravings, is craved by people who are over-worked and exhausted. It gives the false impression of keeping it all together and being mentally sharp, but really, it exhausts us further — especially in excessive amounts. Once again like sugar, the caffeine will give you a hit of energy but then the payoff of a downer and exhausted adrenal glands can follow especially if you are an anxious person.
Another thing to note about caffeine is that it causes our hearts to race. Therefore, if you are stressed, caffeine negatively affects our adrenals and causes us to feel even more stressed and exhausted. If this is you, start to wean yourself off and see if it makes any difference to your stress levels.
Reaching for a glass of wine after a hard day is sooo nice right? But if we start using alcohol as our way to manage our stress – it can affect both our mental and physical health.
The thing is - the more we drink, the more stress it causes us when we’re not under the influence.
Stress already depletes us of B vitamins and magnesium and when we drink alcohol it depletes these much-needed vitamins even further which is why we can wake up with a head or muscle pain after a night of drinking.
Alcohol also compromises our gut health which is a HUGE topic which I will touch on at some stage. But I will just say this now… did you know that 70% of your serotonin (the happy hormone) is made in our gut?! So, when your gut health is compromised, so is your mood.
So, if alcohol has become your way to de-stress, this is when you need to replace the act of having a drink with a healthier way to manage the stress.
Some individuals can also crave alcohol as a confidence enhancer socially as alcohol can tend to remove any inhibitions or anxiety around meeting new people or dating. Again, alcohol here is masking the real problem which could be self-confidence or social anxiety.
- SOCIAL MEDIA
Social media is physically addictive as well as psychologically. A study from Harvard University showed that self-disclosure online fires up a part of the brain that also lights up when taking an addictive substance, like cocaine. This is an alarming statistic as we spend more and more time engaging on platforms for both business and pleasure.
The next time that you reach for your phone to spend a mindless hour or two on Instagram have a think about this!
Generally speaking, men seek sex because they like how it feels. Women, although they very well may also derive pleasure from the act, are generally more interested in the relationship enhancement that sex offers and hence crave the sense of connection it can illicit.
Sex can be a great stress- release as sexually active individuals look for that euphoric feeling once climax has been reached.
Sex is great unless you find yourself feeling empty or a bit low afterwards or if it just leaves you needing more and it becomes like a drug where you need that “high”. In these cases, ask yourself - what is it really masking?
So, from what we can see from the above information on the sources of human’s most apparent cravings, there are some common threads with their causes.
We tend to turn to something outside of ourselves to deal with stress, mask our feelings or pain or even to make up for our lack of self-worth.
Find a healthy activity you enjoy and commit to this for around 30 mins a day. You will have a natural energy surge which will combat those nasty stress hormones which have you reaching for a ‘quick fix’.
And if yoga and meditation isn’t your thing, then think outside the box! Why don’t you release some of the anger with a kick boxing class! Try spending some time in nature, read a good book, find a buddy to run or walk with or get creative!.
But most importantly – FEEL those feelings. The ones that you want to supress with whatever you use to supress. Let it be there so it can shift. Speak to a counsellor or a friend about how you’re feeling. Or look at what life changes you need to make to be less stressed. It might be something tough to look at… but sometimes when we change that job or free ourselves from unhealthy relationships or living situations – after the initial pain.. you will never look back!
Once you begin to let yourself have joy in your life, you won’t be on the hunt for those sweet foods, the sex fix or whatever you use to numb pain or deal with stress.
So guys! Is it “One day”? or is it “Day one”? xxx