How to handle stress craving with mindfulness?

Stress is not what happens to us but how we perceive, think and explain to ourselves what happened to us.

Is your thinking helping you to alleviate stress, bounce back from setbacks and implement positive change or makes things worse?

When your thoughts are negative, outdated or confining, they undermine any of your good intentions and moving forward and toward your goals be they weight management, balanced life or overcoming negative body image or -- whether you're conscious of them or not. 
Your thoughts are the primary creator of your emotions, which inspire your actions and therefore lead to your results.

It stands to reason that without an awareness of this mental chatter--your negative thoughts, you cannot really know why you do what you do so it is hard to change it. The challenge is though that many of us are so used to our negative thinking patterns that we hardly notice that this is the way we are self-sabotaging our success.

Be Mindful of Negative Thoughts

Start by learn to watch your thoughts. Soon you will notice that you have a lot of self-talk you aren’t aware of. 

Lets imagine you are working on your weight management and you started to learn to eat healthier, and repeatedly failed because when stress strikes you would give in to chips and pizza and ice cream. 

Your mind would say, “You’ve been doing good, and this food is your reward!”, “One won’t hurt!” “Why am I torturing myself?” “Is this really worth it?” “Just give in, it’s much easier.” “You can’t do this, it’s too hard.”

Think about those thoughts for a second. How many did I have that I wasn’t aware of? How powerful were they, when I didn’t realize they were there? How many times did they cause you to overeat when you had previously tried to stop? And how often do these kinds of thoughts act on you?

And of course, thoughts like these are very tempting, very powerful.

How do you learn to be mindful of your negative thoughts? 

Simple: you practice. And how do you practice mindfulness of your thoughts? By far the best method I’ve found is mindfulness meditation.

‘To meditate does not mean to fight with a problem. To meditate means to observe.’

When we are unaware of our thoughts and urges, which arise in the back of our mind mostly unnoticed, they have a power over us. We are unable to change if these unbidden thoughts control us. But when we learn to observe them, we can then release their power over us.

Meditation is a healthy habit where all you’re doing is practicing mindful observing, where everything else is stripped away in a beautiful simplicity that leaves just you and your thoughts and the present moment.

Here is an example

Imagine that you are just hit by stress and have an urge to sooth yourself with a cookie, and it would get so strong that you have a hard time beating it. 

At the same time, you have these rationalizing thoughts: “It’s OK to eat just one — one cookie doesn’t hurt you”, or “Why are you making yourself suffer like this? It’s not worth it!” And those thoughts and urges would beat you if you let them, but this time --  watch them. 

Don’t act on your first thought impulse, just watch. And they would rise and crest and then fade, and you would be OK.

Don’t take my word for it. Try and see how magic happens.

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