Addiction to Drugs & Alcohol is an awful disease. The Natural Rest House Detox offers these services offers to teach you a great exercise to help you stop cravings. If you or a loved one need these tools to finally overcome Addiction call one of our representative today.
A simple yet powerful exercise whenever you are feeling Cravings
Values are a person’s principles or judgments about what is most important in life. Addiction causes a major shift in one’s values. What one may have found central in his or her life previously, such as work, wisdom, compassion, honesty and the like lose their importance. They are replaced by omnipresent thoughts about the object of the addiction, whether it’s a drink, drug or behavior: “When can I get my next fix?”; “Where can I get more?”; “Who might have some I can get?”; “How can I hide my addiction?” and so the obsessive thinking and craving goes, ad nauseum..
It’s important to know that values, besides directing your behavior, can have another purpose as well. You can choose to focus on values, in particular positive values. Attending to the select word can have an almost immediate good, healthy impact on your mind, body and spirit. Let’s take a look at the following brief exercise. You can start with a couple of minutes and then be sure to do it for at least 5-10 minutes for optimized results.
Step 1: Choose a positive value word, such as joy, peace, pleasure, happiness, harmony, love, confidence or others.
Step 2: Check in with yourself how you’re feeling emotionally, physically and mentally. It’s best to jot down some descriptions on a piece of paper before you start.
Step 3: Close your eyes, place a hand over your heart and focus on your breathing…in and out…in and out. Now, allow the positive value word you selected to drift into your mind and focus on it. Say it to yourself silently several times. See it in your mind’s eye. Now, focus on your breathing. Inhale slowly and deeply and when you exhale, make sure the exhalation is longer than the inhalation. Let the word you selected rest in your mind. Notice if the word changes visually or if any related memories are triggered by your focus on the word. Attend to the word and your breathing. Just be aware and notice what’s occurring and any changes in thoughts, emotions and sensations.
Step 4: Open your eyes slowly while continuing to breathe in a relaxed manner. Notice how you’re feeling physically and emotionally. What thoughts do you have? Briefly jot some notes down about these aspects. Compare how you feel now to how you felt before you engaged in the exercise. You might feel calmer, happier, more optimistic, less tense, lighter, more grounded or other positive characteristics.
Now, let’s explore the WHY THIS WORKS so you can use the elements anytime you are thinking about “using”, having cravings, feeling down, stressed out or just want to feel better.
The reason I asked you to hold your hand over your heart is that the touch and contact cause the hypothalamus in your brain to trigger the release of oxytocin. Oxytocin is a neuropeptide or neurotransmitter that acts like a hormone circulating throughout your brain and body . It counters cortisol which is the trigger for the stress reaction. Produced in situations involving friendship, trust and sex, it is soothing and relaxing.
Recall that I directed you to exhale for longer than you inhaled. The reason I did this is that this pattern triggers the parasympathetic nervous system which is the part of the nervous system in charge of the relaxation response (Ravicz, Simone. (2014). Brain Boosters: Seven Ways to Help Your Brain Help Yourself. Outskirt Press.) Its activation counteracts the sympathetic nervous system which is associated with the stress or fight-flight-and-freeze response. Use this technique whenever you’re feeling stressed or anxious.
Finally, repeating a positive value word (like the ones listed above or others that you may choose that resonate with you) during this exercise for five to ten minutes turns on as many as 1200 stress-reducing genes.
Use this simple yet powerful exercise whenever you are feeling tense, uptight, anxious, afraid or if you are experiencing “using” thoughts or cravings. It works quickly and is a great way of boosting mind-body health and joy. Good luck!