Beat your crav­ings

Are your bad habits harm­ing your ev­ery­day life or your health? There’s a trick you can use to help break them

Men's Fitness - - Fuel -

Not all ad­dic­tions are hugely self­de­struc­tive ones like nar­cotics or smok­ing. Many of us are con­stantly crav­ing some­thing, whether it’s a bet, un­healthy food or just that buzz when one of our so­cial me­dia posts gets liked. And when this be­comes a habit, it can af­fect our pro­duc­tiv­ity, our health and our re­la­tion­ships.

When psy­chi­a­trist Dr Jud­son Brewer set up a pi­lot study to see if mind­ful­ness could help peo­ple quit smok­ing, he hoped it might prove as ef­fec­tive as the Amer­i­can Lung As­so­ci­a­tion’s tried-and-tested meth­ods. The re­sults sur­prised even him: sub­jects who used mind­ful­ness gave up at twice the rate as those us­ing the es­tab­lished ap­proach – and they proved more likely to stay smoke-free.

Mind­ful­ness, sim­ply put, is the state of be­ing highly aware of what’s hap­pen­ing, and you can use it to fig­ure out when crav­ings are trig­gered, how they make you feel and how you can break the habit loops that cause them to hap­pen re­peat­edly. One of the key mind­ful­ness tech­niques is a four-stage pro­ce­dure that Brewer calls RAIN and it can be ap­plied to any ad­dic­tion, help­ing you put a stop to dam­ag­ing habits once and for all.

The Crav­ing Mind: From Ci­garettes To Smart­phones To Love – Why We Get Hooked And How We Can Break Bad Habits by Jud­son Brewer is out now, RRP £16.99 (Yale Uni­ver­sity Press)

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