Cravings As Clues
Cravings can rule our lives! We’ll be going along fine, minding our own business and then wham-o, some food, drug, drink, etc. comes into our attention and we’re off to the races full on craving that thing. Sometimes it’s manageable and other times it’s obsessive and controlling. We’re long gone from the present moment and can think of nothing else. Cravings can completely take over our lives, without giving us anything nice back except a few moments of a brain chemistry boost to temporarily appease the craving master. But, what if I said cravings are a clue, a way to show us what needs our attention? They ultimately provide a way out, if we can listen and tune in to discover what they’re trying to teach us. Of course, easier said than done.
Cravings all come from a place that is unresolved in us. That’s why they’re harder to fight off when we’re low or stressed out and easier to fight off when we’ve got the Midas touch. Yes, there’s a brain chemistry piece to all this, and even a microbial piece sometimes too. By that I mean if you’ve got an overgrowth of candida in your system, you’re probably going to crave more sugar to feed those little buggers. If your brain chemistry is off, you’re going to crave the go tos you’ve taught your body give you the quick boost to right the ship. The key here is that in both instances, we’ve gotten ourselves into these messes. The big question is why?
Usually it’s because we started replacing substances with what we really needed, emotional healing or wholeness. If we had a rough go as kids (which is most people because we’re human and oh so imperfect) and we learned early on to “have a cookie” when things got hard, then we taught ourselves to self-soothe with cookies when our needs weren’t getting met. It’s still the same now, as adults. Right, we’ve all said, “I’m having this drink, cupcake, edible (yup, I live Colorado) because I’ve had a brutal day and I deserve it.” (“It” being the boost we’re looking for.) There’s no denying that bad days come and go, but the craving is belying something deeper.
There are no cravings without the deeper unresolved issue. Otherwise, we’d say, “Wow, that was a brutal day and now I’m headed for a walk to clear my head, get outside into nature, and make myself feel truly better”. That’s the truly healthy path. Instead we say f- that, I’m getting a glass of wine, and some ice cream, and I’m going to binge watch some mindless show until I pass out and start over tomorrow again. There’s nothing wrong with that once in a while, but the problem arises when we’re not really getting what we want out of our lives, like weight issues, or not doing something we’ve wanted to do for years, or simply not feeling in control of our choices.
So, I’m here to say that cravings are clues. They let us know that something isn’t quite healed within us yet. Something is calling out for our attention to be looked at and addressed. The body, mind, and spirit are always focused on health, homeostasis, getting us back into balance. Cravings give us a beautiful opportunity to dive in a little deeper. Ideally without giving into the craving. Can’t learn much if we feed the beast, but even if you can’t quite go there yet, maybe you could for 5 minutes first. Sit quietly and feel what’s going on past the craving. Take out a pen and paper and write a stream of consciousness answer to the question what’s behind this craving. Then keep mining that vein until you resolve it. Awareness is a HUGE first step.
The good news is you’ll get a little more insight into yourself, which is the name of the healing game. The bad news is it just might lead to you going for the walk instead of eating the candy bar. So harsh, not to be able to be conscious and unconscious at the same time, isn’t it!