Sometimes it seems like we’re taught, at some point in our lives, that we need to fulfill a craving or desire. For example, if you wake up and feel like you’re craving a steak, you may instinctively believe that you should be seeking out a steak to eat. It makes sense – crave steak, go eat steak, fulfill craving.
Yet, the real world doesn’t always work this way, nor should it. This desire to obtain the object of your cravings and urges isn’t without its harm. Addiction is a great example of this. Many people that have struggled with addiction experience an urge to engage in the addictive behavior again. They naturally decide that the existence of these urge indicates that they should do it – “just a little” – only to find that fulfilling the urge just lead to more urges and more addiction.
What is Mindfulness for Addictive Urges?
Mindfulness is a practice of taking a step back and allowing yourself to evaluate your feelings, desires, and behaviors. So much of what we do in life is on auto pilot, even when we think we are giving it fair consideration. Instead, we should practice mindfulness. Stop, and truly evaluate. Take a pause before acting impulsively.
By taking a deliberate pause, we can think hard about the consequences of our actions and keep them in the front of our minds. We can also ourselves questions like:
- Why do I desire to do this?
- Does this urge matter? Is it something I need to fulfill?
- What will I feel like if/when I’ve fulfilled the urge?
These types of urges and desires are, by their very nature, temporary. Even if you do decide to fulfill the urge, you get no long lasting benefits from it (and often many consequences) and the urge is roughly as likely or as unlikely to occur at a future date. It doesn’t solve anything for you, and ignoring the urge will not have any long term consequences.
Instead of responding to these urges, what we can do and what we should do is dedicate our mental energy on something else. This is true not only of addiction, where it is critical for your health and wellness, but for any urge or desire that is impacting your life. Focus on more productive pursuits, and your life will be happier and richer than it would be if you responded to the urge.