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Tips for managing cravings

Cravings can be triggered in many ways, such as being with others, or going to a place you associate with the activity. Feeling angry, anxious or even happy can also trigger cravings. Understanding how cravings work and planning how you will deal with them is the key to managing them.

It can often be difficult to either stop or cut down on a substance or behaviour that you always feel that you've enjoyed. Whether it is smoking, alcohol, shopping, gambling, eating unhealthy food, or internet chat rooms: once you've decided to make a change, cravings are a normal reaction.
Below are some tips for successfully managing cravings:

Self awareness

Get to know your own unique patterns of behaviour. Do you tend to always associate a drink with a cigarette? Do you only eat unhealthy food when you're feeling sad or when you're feeling happy? Do you tend to use the internet more at night? Everyone has a different relationship with their patterns of behaviours, and it's important to build awareness of them before you can begin to take control. A Cravings Diary is a good way to help you do this.

Plan ahead

As you build awareness of your own behavioural patterns, start preparing yourself for those times when you're most likely to turn to the behaviour that you're trying to change. This could be as simple as moving into another room, taking a walk, reading, exercising, or calling a friend. It is a good idea to know which distraction activities you will use in advance, so that you can act immediately when the cravings start.

Get to know your cravings

Whilst it may not be easy, it may not always be as tough as you think. Keep a realistic track of what a craving actually feels like, how long each craving 'episode' really lasts for, and what you may be able to do to distract yourself.

Talk to someone

Some people like to talk to someone they know about their cravings, or how they're feeling. Others prefer to talk to someone they don't know, such as a counsellor. Whichever feels right for you, ensure you choose supportive people who understand and want to help you succeed.


Set achievable goals

Whether you've decided to cut down or stop, think in terms of hours or days (or minutes if the craving is particularly strong) rather than weeks. This makes your goal more realistic and therefore more achievable.

View your results

This will depend on the activity you are cutting down on or giving up, but a good example could be putting money into a jar which you would have otherwise spent on cigarettes, or a shopping trip. Being able to see how much you are saving can motivate you to continue.

Seek out success stories

Talking to others who have been able to successfully change their behaviour can inspire you to do the same and will reinforce the belief that you can do it too.

Reward yourself

Making positive changes in your life takes effort and you deserve to feel good about the progress you have made.

Get more tips and information on staying healthy from AXA PPP Healthcare’s website.



Want to find out more?

Jelf’s healthcare specialists can help put appropriate insurances in place to protect your health and wellbeing in later life. If you’d like to discuss any specific healthcare insurance requirements with one of Jelf’s healthcare advisers, simply:

*This information is taken from the following AXA PPP Healthcare website: https://www.axappphealthcare.co.uk/health-worries/lifes-journey/article/forties-and-fifties/  

Copyright AXA 2016 ©

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