We all have our guilty pleasures, those little things that we know are bad for us, that we simply cannot give up no matter how hard we try.
Some people “go cold turkey” (attempting to give their guilty pleasure up immediately) while others try to cut down slowly, but many of us will slip back into our old habits.
But what if giving up your guilty pleasure could simply be a case of mind over matter?
A study has found that chocolate, known for its addictive properties, could be more easily given up with the help of psychological reconditioning techniques.
According to research by Flinders University School of Psychology in Australia, mindfulness could hold the key to curbing your chocolate cravings.
Researchers looked at two groups of women and measured their thoughts about chocolate, how intrusive those thoughts were, how vivid the imagery in their minds was, the craving intensity and how much they ultimately ate.
The study found that two particular mindfulness practices — cognitive defusion and guided imagery — helped subdue subjects’ chocolate cravings.
“If we tackle the issue when it first pops up in your mind – particularly if you are not hungry – then it’s much easier than waiting for those cravings to gather force,” lead researcher Sophie Schumacher said.
“Learn to nip off these cravings at the bud – by giving yourself a constructive distraction such as imaging a walk in a forest – can help to lower the intrusiveness of the thoughts and vividness of the imagery.
“We found it was important to target the initial craving thoughts before they become full-blown cravings.”