Staying healthy: mastering unhealthy cravings

Like a cat, you can eat and sleep when you like.  As a human, though, following all of your instincts is likely to be unhealthy. Photo by Simon Matzinger on Unsplash

You were born into a human body, and you therefore have certain preferences which your body expresses.  One of those preferences, is to have a balanced existence.  What I mean by this, is that your body has evolved to learn when it has had too much of one thing: in response it rejects it, and seeks another thing.

For example, when your body has had too much time without food, your attention is drawn to food.  Later, once you have eaten, your body stops attending to food, and perhaps realises it has had too much time being active.  It therefore attends to relaxation, and finds somewhere to nap.  After sleep, your body stops attending to sleep, and focuses on something else.

In this way, you have a natural, built-in sense of balance.


Unfortunately, your bodily sense of balance evolved in a particular environment, in which certain things were scarce, and certain things in abundance.  For instance, you may have a natural craving for sugar, salt or fat.  This worked in an environment where sugar, salt and fat were hard to find.  The craving helped you keep balance.  But in your current environment, where sugar, salt and fat may be easy to access, your craving is a nuisance.  It leads you to eat too much of the wrong thing, and your body becomes unhealthy.

What this means, is that your natural pattern of cravings is a bit out-of-date, and cannot be relied upon to keep you healthy.  This can apply to cravings for all sorts of substances and activities which were less available millions of years ago: alcohol, drugs, sex, food, entertainment, and many other things.

You will notice that your modern civilisation takes advantage of these cravings.  Each of the cravings mentioned above have their own industry, which exists to pump out more and more products to match the cravings.  These industries are not concerned with your ultimate health.  They are concerned with their own wealth.


In the absence of sufficient controls on these industries, it is, therefore, up to you to balance your own needs.  If you want to remain a victim of your cravings, then by all means carry on.  But if you want a healthy life, then you may have to take control of your natural self, and give it a helping hand.  In modern civilisations, you are not just an animal following its cravings.  You can also be an intelligent being moderating its cravings.

Meditation can moderate the path of cravings.  Meditation practice empowers you.  Instead of mindlessly influencing you, your cravings now have to find their way past your trained mind.  When you are well-trained, you will be much better able to manage your own cravings, and to notice, and avoid, what is leading you to ill-health.

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I experience cravings, and I follow them.

Some of those cravings lead me to have an unbalanced body.  I then become unhealthy.

I cannot rely on civilisation to keep me healthy.  I must learn to master my own cravings.

Through meditation and constant practice, I can become mindful instead of mindless.

This mindfulness, in helping me deal with unhealthy cravings, will help me master my own wellbeing.