Cravings are often a sign that your needs are not being met. Instead, you’re using something else — a coffee, a packet of crisps, an affair — to satisfy a need. And that something else cannot satisfy your need. It leads to dependency, to a bad habit, eventually to an addiction.
My last corporate role was highly paid, high profile and highly stressful. I’d come home from work stressed out and exhausted. First thing, I’d pour myself a glass of wine. Ah! Time to relax. Let go of all the stresses and strains of the day. Unwind before taking on the duties of wife, mother and housekeeper.
What do you do after a stressful day? The thing you turn to to relax, unwind, restore some of your precious energy? Mine was a glass of wine…
Except it didn’t relieve the pressures of the day. It numbed my body and soul. One day I came to my senses. I’d just opened that bottle of wine. Next I looked, already half of it was gone. What I thought was relief was really a bad habit and it was quickly turning into dependency, and that slippery slope to addiction. Not only that, I was actually depleting what little precious energy I still had at the end of the day.
A Want Does Not Satisfy a Need
That’s when I realised there is a big and important distinction between a want and a need. Using a desire to satisfy a need simply didn’t — couldn’t — work. Instead, I needed to find a way to release that stress and restore my energy in a way that actually did just that. Satisfy the need, not pander to the craving.
Taking time out to unwind when I first got home, nourishing my body with nutritious foods, water and a bit of yoga actually did the trick.
What are your needs? Do you have simple, appropriate ways of satisfying them, or are you substituting a want for a need as I had done?
- Relying on that first cup of coffee in the morning to give you the energy you need to start the day?
- Scoffing a whole bar of chocolate instead of getting the hugs, love and affection you truly need?
- Perhaps you have a weakness for cakes, cookies and other baked goods and turn to them when you’re feeling low? Find better ways to satisfy your need for pleasure, hugs and reassurance.
- Maybe it’s ice cream, or nuts — fatty foods — that you use to fill up that feeling of emptiness inside, a lack of purpose?
- If you’re hooked on salty foods like crisps and nuts, find better ways to satisfy your anxiety or release your anger.
- And if like me, you turn to alcohol, it’s to relieve stress, depression or loneliness.
None of these work. Far better to identify your needs and satisfy them so you can thrive.
- You have physiological needs — for sleep, food, water, exercise, etc
- Psychological needs — to ease stress, worry, anxiety
- Relational needs — to connect with others, love, be loved and belong
- Spiritual needs — to connect to Source and be at one with all that is
Take some time today to ask: What do I crave? What is the need behind that craving that is crying to be satisfied?
And if you’d like help in identifying and satisfying your needs, let’s have a short call.