It’s 2 a.m., and the mocha fudge ice cream in your freezer is calling to you. You fight with the sheets and try to resist, but ultimately, you give in to the temptation. A gigantic bowl of ice cream and a sugar rush later, the guilt is keeping you wide awake, and you wish you could go back and deny the craving. Sound familiar?
Though we often associate the word “crave” with unhealthy practices like eating ice cream in the early morning hours or sleeping until the day is half over craving doesn’t just have to describe an unhealthy lifestyle. In fact, with a little discipline and practice, you can learn to crave a healthy lifestyle that will make you feel great and will eventually eliminate your craving for 2 a.m. ice cream.
Did you know that many of the practices that promote physical wellness lead to you wanting more? For example, when you exercise, your brain produces high levels of dopamine and endorphins that fill you with energy and joy. Additionally, eating right and exercising regularly increases feelings of success, accomplishment, and self-esteem, making it more likely that you’ll want to continue those practices and will crave them if you don’t.
While craving a healthy lifestyle might start with your physical health, emotional wellness is closely linked and just as important as your physical wellness. In addition to the sense of accomplishment and satisfaction that comes with being physically fit, having balanced emotions significantly contributes to a healthy lifestyle and will eventually become something you crave. For example, laughter, like exercise, produces endorphins that make you feel great and stay happy, while crying helps as well by releasing emotional stress and built-up tension.
Finally, craving spiritual wellness is a fundamental part of a healthy lifestyle and is a natural result of meditation, prayer, and worship. The spiritual “high” that results from adrenaline-filled worship sessions or prayer times, in addition to the sense of peace and renewal that comes with meditation, makes spiritual wholeness something you will crave if you ever give it up.
Of course, sometimes getting to the state of craving a healthy lifestyle can be difficult. After all, switching from craving potato chips and Netflix to craving quiet meditation and aerobics is a significant shift that can be a challenge. To keep you on track, however, here are a few suggestions:
Stretch and relax if you are having trouble making it to the gym. Though practices like yoga, tai chi, etc. will not supplant other forms of exercise; they are a great alternative and will give you the endorphins and rest you need to keep going.
Though meditation may be dismissed as either useless or sacrilegious, it is an excellent way to cleanse your spirit, renew your mind, and find peace.
Do your best to get a good night of rest. Yes, sleeping eight hours every night can be a challenge with a busy schedule, but having terrible sleep patterns adds to stress and eventually leads to craving naps, which ultimately means having less time for more productive habits.
Establish a routine and ask someone to help keep you accountable. This is especially important at the beginning since developing habits will eventually lead to you craving those habits. Having a friend support you along the way is also a great way to keep your cravings in check.
While it may take a while for you to develop cravings for a healthy lifestyle, you’ll never want to go back once you do. Moreover, having a restful night’s sleep that results in productive days full of energy, exercise, and a joyful spirit is far more worth craving than mocha fudge ice cream in the middle of the night.