The practice of mindfulness meditation is a way of separating yourself from your thoughts and emotions, so as not to be controlled by them. The main goal of mindfulness is to become more aware of those thoughts, emotions, and situations that have a strong effect on our habits, actions, and behaviors.
Mindfulness has surged in popularity over the past several years, with apps, blogs, and meditation classes offering the therapeutic technique.
Now, new research has found that mindfulness can also help reduce or interrupt cravings for food, alcohol, or drugs, which could be beneficial for treating substance abuse and addiction.
Researchers from City, University of London compiled together different studies dealing with cravings and mindfulness to see if there was a viable connection between the two.
The results were published in Clinical Psychology Review and show that mindfulness can be an effective technique for interrupting cravings for drugs and food because it occupies short-term memory.
Cravings are typically an intense, conscious desire for a substance, and often trigger a behavior to consume.
Because these cravings can lead to addiction addiction, the researchers examined 30 different studies that involved mindfulness as a technique to curb cravings.
After reviewing the studies, their methodologies, and the results, the researchers concluded that mindfulness fights cravings by interrupting or loading short-term memory. It also provides a way to distraction from the cravings, which reduces the likelihood that the person will act on them.
“The research suggests that certain mindfulness-based strategies may help prevent or interrupt cravings by occupying a part of our mind that contributes to the development of cravings,” said Katy Tapper, an author of the paper.
The researchers note that further studies are needed to understand the benefits of regular mindfulness practice, and if mindfulness is more effective than other techniques at reducing cravings.