As what happens when we “crave” something, well first what is a craving if you will? To find out let’s look to our ole friend Merriam Webster who says it is to want greatly, to yearn for as in to have a strong or inward desire. So what happens when you want something, as are all cravings equal or do some have greater priority over others?
For each person the weight of this answer may differ, however what keeps these “cravings” in check if you will from running wild. Well past the age of 5 or there about with the Theory of Mind we also start to understand the concept of discipline which we are taught is used to balance our cravings, such as “you can’t have that cookie as its will spoil your dinner”. Here it is suggested we defer the ability to gratify our “craving” for another goal, and even a goal we may not be all that interested in achieving.
However what is interesting is a study discussed in a recent issue of Scientific America’s “60 Second Mind” says that people who are suppressing a craving are more attune to violence and distress then if they were not suppressing the same feeling. What was clear is that to deny a craving or desire resulted in a measure of implied discomfort. So what’s new about this as most smokers or dieters know it’s no fun taking a pass on the craving which is seemly driving them out of their minds?
Well this association seems to imply that being psychological or physiological the act suppress has a “real” affect as the old adage which says “misery loves company” is based upon the concept that people wish to associate with others who are in the same state of attunement as they. This is one of the reasons support groups work as each person in the group is passing through the same general experience as the other in the group thus a shared social feeling or “bond” is created within the group and typically after the commonality is diminished or eliminated the social connections are also lost.
So why is this of interest, well first it will help with the ability to overcome or manage negative cravings, such as cigarette smoking, gambling addictions and so on, as supporting a person who has just taken their last puff on a cigarette with a Kathy Lee Gifford smile is most likely not going to be helpful and may even act as a deterrent. Next as mentioned above, support groups however the group must be relevant to the phase to the person seeking the suppression is in. As if you place for exampled a person who is “just” quit smoking with a person who has quit for 3 months yet has minor cravings will not be the same as if the both (or all) parties are at the same general stage of quitting.
Then finally it is for all to understand that while cravings may be all in ones head, they have “real” social connections which drive them and they require social support to change them as no man is an island…