Stanley Block

Stanley H. Block M.D.

Come To Your Senses

You Don't Have to Get Rid of Cravings

Is your life ruled by your cravings?

Posted Jul 27, 2011

Human made of pills taking a pill
Myths About Addiction:
1. Cravings are your enemy.
2. You always make bad choices.
3. You are controlled by your addiction.

Realities About Addiction:
1. Your body and cravings are not your enemy
2. Your nature has the ability to make good choices.
3. Unifying your mind and body puts you in the driver's seat.

                                                                                       Recognizing the Root Cause 

It's not the triggers, it's not your DNA, it's not your childhood, it's not your disease and it's not your cravings that make addictions. So, what is it? It's the over activity of a network in the brain, present in all of us, that neuroscience researchers call the Default Network, and clinicians call the Identity System (I-System). A 21st Century approach to addictions focuses on quieting this overactive I-System so you can utilize your natural resources (the Executive Network) to deal with your personal challenges and overcome your addiction.

Woman looking at a piece of pizza dangling on a hook
Here is how it works. Visualize a cue (e.g. pizza, chocolate, relaxing drink, video games, etc.) that activates your cravings. Now note your body tension and the swirling thoughts generated by the cue. These are the signs that your I-System is overactive, leading to a disruption of your brain's Default Network. Staying in this overactive state, you'll be driven to eat more pizza, eat too much chocolate, have a drink, take that pill, or OD on video games. The craving has become bigger than you, and you become your cravings.

Now, what to do about it. Continue to visualize the cue, but now listen to the background sounds, feel your feet on the floor, see the colors on the wall. Continue to do this until you feel settled. The reduction of body tension and mind clutter signify that you have quieted your I-System. You are now bigger than your cravings. Your mind-body is brought into balance where your freedom of choice returns.

Did you notice that as soon as you lose contact with your senses, you give power to your cravings? Yes, it's your spinning thoughts that shrinks down your awareness, sense of self, and the ability to control your actions. Please note that the sights, sounds and body sensations are always there, but your swirling thoughts have short circuited your ability to be a person of free choice.

Woman celebrating a victory
21st Century Approach

Rather than designing drugs to reduce the cravings or techniques to battle the cravings, Mind-Body Bridging, a branch or Mind-Body Medicines, focuses on releasing you from the grip of your overactive I-System. Quieting the I-System with Mind-Body Bridging unifies your mind and body, putting you back in the driver's seat. This 21st Century mind-body approach gives us a whole new therapeutic avenue to address addictions.




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A 21st Century Approach to PTSD and Addiction Click Here.




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Block, S.H., and C.B. Block. 2010. Mind-Body Workbook for PTSD: A 10-Week Program for Healing After Trauma. Oakland: New Harbinger Publications.

Block, S. H., and C. B. Block. 2007. Come to Your Senses: Demystifying the Mind-Body Connection. 2nd
ed. New York: Atria Books/Beyond Words, Publishing.

Block, S. H., S. H. Ho, and Y. Nakamura. 2009. A brain basis for transforming consciousness with Mind-Body Bridging. Paper presented at Toward a Science of Consciousness 2009 conference, June 12, at
Hong Kong Polytechnical University, Hong Kong, China, Abstract 93.

Nakamura, Y., D. L. Lipschitz, R. Landward, R. Kuhn, and G. West. 2011 (forthcoming). Two sessions of sleep focused mind-body bridging improve self-reported symptoms of sleep and PTSD in veterans: A pilot
randomized controlled trial. Journal of Psychosomatic Research.

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