Triggers. Why can they be so powerful? and what can I do when I'm triggered?
Stress, anxiety, boredom, happiest, sadness, excitement or sleepiness - how can these all be triggers? Trigger --> Craving --> Action. This is how our brain works. You get triggered by a feeling that you aren't completely satisfied with --> you want to end that feeling by feeling something different --> you extinguish the seemingly negative feeling with something seemingly positive. You repeat this action, hundreds or thousands of times, then you are on autopilot.
The habit has been formed.
You're bored? You grab chips. You are feeling run-down? You hit up starbucks. Your brain has memorized these feelings and turned them into "if - then" statements.
"If" I am lonely, "then" I eat chocolate.
"If" I am happy, "then" I eat chocolate.
"If" I am sad, "then" I eat chocolate.
What patterns have you learned and repeated in you brain?
The deep programing of our brain is the reason why cravings are so powerful. Every time you repeat an action, you are making it that much harder of a habit to break. Conversely, you should also realize that by changing the "if- then" statement, it is possible to change the automatic reaction will consistency and reinforcement.
So, if you are thinking of making a few changes in your life, and your cravings seem to be getting in the way, you need to reprogram your brain to cut the cravings. Here are some examples of rewriting your craving program.
"If negative feelings flood over me and I start feeling low and depressed, reach for chocolate." into
"If negative feelings flood over me and I start feeling low and depressed, reach for _____"
The blank needs to be filled in by you with something that will:
1. Bring you comfort
2. Elevate your vibration
3. Distract you from those negative feelings
not things that will:
1. Perpetuate negativity
2. Bring you guilt, shame or regret
3. Temporarily "band-aid" the negative feelings
Some of my personal examples would be something like this:
"If negative feelings flood over me and I start feeling low and depressed,
1. I take a 20 minute nap
2. Read a book
3. Practice a meditation
4. Turn my face to the sunshine
5. Drink a cup of cool water
I challenge you to discover and identify your triggers. Whether they are food triggers, drug triggers or judgement triggers. Once you have identified them, you will start to notice that your "go-to" reactions have been programmed into your brain, but can be changed. I discover new triggers everyday. It's a constant process, but it gets easier everyday to identify, think about the result I want, change the original trigger-finger reaction and appreciate the ability to grow and be better.