The co-founders of Centred Meditation offer three explanations for how meditation is an unexpected tool that can help you curb those cravings, more calmly!
There’s a biological reason for this. When we are stressed, our body automatically triggers our fight-or-flight response (this is what causes our heart rate to increase, our palms to get sweaty, and our tummy to feel funny). Along with these more obvious reactions, a whole heap of glucocorticoid hormones are released at the same time, and they remain in the bloodstream long after the stressor is removed.
One of the many jobs of this hormone is to replenish energy supplies lost during the fight-or-flight response, and it does this by increasing our sugar cravings and abdominal fat stores. The worst part is that it does it even if the stressor didn’t actually require us to run for our lives (such as simply being stressed before an exam). Why is this all relevant? Countless scientific studies have proven that meditation is an antidote to stress. And it isn’t just a quick fix for when you are feeling stressed out, it has shown to reduce the long-term physiological effects of stress overall. What are you waiting for?
You sit down to watch your favourite TV show, and before you know it, you are getting stuck into that block of salted caramel chocolate without recalling getting up to get it! Well, guess what? Meditation is here to help. There is a particular part of the brain (the posterior cingulate cortex) that gets activated when your attention is elsewhere, such as when you are daydreaming or making plans. Research has shown that meditation reduces activity in this area. This subsequently helps your attention be presently centred i.e. being aware of the present moment instead of mindlessly getting up to get that chocolate. Would be useful, right?
There is a different part of the brain, called the anterior cingulate cortex (ACC), which relates to self-regulation. Meditators show more activity in the ACC than non-meditators, along with superior performance on tests of self-regulation. This means, they have a higher ability to purposefully direct attention and behaviour, to suppress inappropriate sudden responses, and to easily adapt to changes of expectation. Wouldn’t this come in handy the next time you are reaching for that piece of cake?
So if you are looking for a more sustainable way to curb those cravings long-term, then meditation is the way to go. And don’t be fooled…it can be much easier and enjoyable than you think!
What are you go to tricks that help curb your unwanted cravings? Let us know in the comments below!