Day 8 – Physical/Social
Cravings. We all have them. You’re merrily typing away in the middle of your afternoon when one thought permeates your consciousness and comes barreling at you like a semi: Snickers. Must. Have. Now. Starburst. Chips. Coke. Whatever your specific craving may be… it often leads to a mad dash to the nearest vending machine or convenience store in an attempt to scratch that overwhelming itch.
So why the sudden onset of desire for specific foods? Studies suggest that mental imagery may be a key component of food cravings.
When you crave a specific food, a vivid image of it appears in your mind. One study even suggested the clearer the image, the stronger the craving.
The brain then zeroes in on this image and your mind-body connection is activated. Resulting in a forceful report of, “I want! I want!”. It’s only been a matter of seconds, but now you can hardly move on with your day or think of anything else. It’s a natural reaction that activates mental imagery and it requires a large part of your cognitive function. Meaning your brain has a very difficult time moving past this overwhelming illustration dominating your thoughts.
The good news? The same study also showed that this phenomenon can work in reverse.
Volunteers experiencing a craving for a specific food reported a reduction in that particular craving after they engaged in some mental imagery of their own accord.
Simply thinking of common sights such as a rainbow, smells like eucalyptus or patterns like those on a checkerboard were all shown to reduce food cravings in study subjects.
The mind is a powerful thing, they say. Well, saddle up, my friends cause today is your day to harness that power and direct your daily choices (and your taste buds) towards satiation of the healthier and happier variety.
Each time you crave something sweet today, close your eyes for a moment and imagine the face of someone most dear to you. Your partner, friend, family member or co-worker. Visualize their face. What color are their eyes? Hair color and style? What makes their face unique and endearing to you– Dimples? Freckles? Don’t hesitate to think about the details. Now visualize their mouth as it slowly forms into a long and lasting smile. You’re likely experiencing some very pleasing thoughts at this point: warmth, appreciation, love. All powerful replacers to fight off that sudden junk-food frenzy which was happening in your mind only moments ago.
Now take that energy you would have spent acquiring that sugar-laden confection and send a kind text to the person you’d visualized. It’ll be a “sweet exchange” that’ll last you a lot longer than a baked good, soda or piece of candy ever would!