How becoming more connected with your body can help cure cravings.
My client Misha was a successful lawyer with a blossoming career. While her brilliant mind had propelled her work life, she was totally disconnected from her body and was beginning to feel exhausted and heavy.
As we looked at her eating habits and desires for how her life could look and feel, I began to see a pattern: lots of work and not enough play.
I explained to Misha that we are animals as much as we are humans. To feel truly vital and alive, we need to move in pleasurable ways that grow our energy. We are built to move, stretch, run, and sweat. But we don’t. Not nearly enough. We crave and yearn for body confidence, but the only way to feel confident in your body is to move it and use it in ways that feel good.
We crave sleep and rest, real rejuvenation and clarity, yet we don’t get the recommended eight to nine hours of sleep a night. Not even close. Most of us get six hours a night, which causes us to wake up tired and leads us to crave sugar, caffeine, and carbs to wake up. The human body craves true rejuvenation and vitality, but diving into the bottom of a mocha-frappa-latte-ccino is the only answer your overworked, overstressed body can think of.
We crave touch. We need each other. We need to be held. Baby mammals, humans included, who don’t get enough cuddling and skin-to-skin contact with another creature whither, don’t thrive, and can develop serious emotional problems.
Adults are no different. You need touch, physical play, caresses, and pleasure in your body as much as a river otter. We need more fun play in our days, even as adults. Play isn’t some trivial, dumb thing that’s just for kids. Play should be as important to you as eating greens or drinking water. Not only does pleasurable play grow new brain connections for happier moods and better memory, play also sets off a cascade of body-positive effects that help keep you slim and vital.
3 Ways to fulfill your very natural physical cravings (and stop craving sugar and caffeine all day):
1. Masturbate: There are benefits to indulging in solo-play even 10 minutes a day, with or without climax.
2. Work in “bursts”: The human brain is designed to function best when we move often. Set a timer and work in 20 minute chunks to focus your brain. Between 20 minute work cycles, get up and move for five minutes. You can stretch, walk, skip rope, or even lift weights at your desk. You’ll be more productive and engaged.
3. Be a kid: What would your eight-year-old self do for fun? Roller skating, hula hoop, archery, biking, laser tag, or any other form of fun physical play is your best bet for movement (aka exercise) that truly works to enliven and support your well-being.
Here’s a list of 4 Neurochemicals of Play and Pleasure:
1. Dopamine: Everything you do or eat for pleasure produces dopamine surges in your brain. From setting and achieving goals to mind-blowing sex to holding hands or hugging, this key player in the reward system of your brain is where we get that feeling of pleasure.
2. Endocannabinoids: Possibly the cause for “runner’s high” these self-produced cannabis chemicals are created by your brain and are called the “bliss molecules,” which make movement fun and keeps us coming back for more.
3. Oxytocin: “The bonding molecule” is produced from skin-to-skin contact, making love, affection, and intimacy. Playing and commiserating with a friend also releases oxytocin and bonds us with friends and lovers. It also, funny enough, bonds us to our dogs, so cuddling and playing with your dog makes them into a loving, lifelong partner (but you dog lovers knew that already).
4. Endorphins: These tiny molecules are basically self-produced opiates that have pain-killing properties. Released during strenuous physical play, sex, and orgasm, they relieve pain.
When you witness and experience your own capacity for fun and play, your mood, hope, and trust in your body’s strength grow and flourish.
To help Misha make friends with her body, grow her energy, and love living in her own skin, we put together a “play plan.” Daily walks during work days were scheduled for those times when she could return calls on her cell phone. Weekly dance or roller skating dates with girlfriends, and intermittent stretching during work hours helped her connect to her body again.
And the bloating? I told Misha we needed a special holistic healing tool to help bring relaxation and pleasure to her lower digestive system: a vibrator. We met up at my favorite toy store, Babeland, in Park Slope, Brooklyn. After chatting with their very knowledgeable staff, Misha chose a new toy to take home and enjoy. The physical benefits of climax and orgasm are well documented, and I had a suspicion that bringing pleasure to her lower belly in this way would help with her physical vitality as well as her bloating.
After a few weeks, Misha reported feeling more awake, alert, comfortable in her own clothes, and happy. This method of making physical pleasure a regular ritual has helped many of my clients make friends with their bodies, grow their body confidence, and start experiencing balancing, relaxing, and hormone and tummy healing benefits.