I have decided (once again) that I need to cut caffeine out of my diet. In the past I have given it up cold turkey but have ended up with withdrawal headaches. Is there a way that I can use EFT to help me kick the caffeine habit in a pain-free way?
photo by Christian Cable
I get questions about craving management all the time. Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT) is a great tool for dealing with any sort of craving (sweets, cigarettes, caffeine, or any thing you absolutely must have right now).
There are four basic steps to killing a craving. They are: eliminating resistance to changing behaviors; stopping the craving; managing withdrawal symptoms (if they exists); and taking steps to insure long-term success.
Resistance to Change
Often when we want to make a change there is a part of us that doesn’t want to change. It might be because we don’t know how life is going to look after a change, it might be because we are worried we are going to lose something we need by changing, or it could be both.
Sometimes there are side-effects to changing the foods and beverages we consume. Because we have eaten or drunk something regularly in the past, the body becomes used to — and often dependent upon — these substances. When we remove these from our diets it can take the body some time to transition.
For example, headaches are the most common side-effect of removing caffeine from our diet. Because we know side-effects are possible, we can resist making the change we want to make. I have found it very helpful to deal with the resistance to change whenever we are going to make a change in our lives.
Once you make the decision to change something in your diet you should take time daily to tap away any resistance to change. You can do it first thing in the morning to set your day up for success. It can be done in one or two rounds of tapping, which takes less than three minutes.
I really want to make this change….It’s the best choice for my health…I’m afraid that if I quit drinking coffee I won’t be able to get up in the morning…But I choose to know that once my body is no long dependant on the caffeine I will be able to wake up without it…I’m afraid that if I quit drinking coffee I will have withdrawal headaches…But I choose to know if I do have any sort of withdrawal symptom like headaches I can tap those away as well….I want to thank any part of me that is resistant to this change….I know it is resisting because it is uncertain how life will look after the change…It’s resisting change because it is trying to protect me from an uncertain future…But I know this change is best for me…I give myself permission to change.
Killing The Craving
Getting rid of cravings with EFT is a very easy task and can usually be done in a round or two of tapping. We deal with craving in the same fashion we deal with any other physical symptom. Tune in to the intensity and tap it away.
When a craving begins to build up, ask yourself “Zero to ten, how large is the craving?” After you have the SUDs level simply tap:
This craving for coffee
This craving for coffee
This craving for coffee
After a round or two of tapping, re-rate the level of intensity. If there is still some craving left, do another round of tapping.
In my experience it usually only takes two (three at the most) rounds of tapping to lower the craving enough to insure that I make a good choice.
There can be withdrawal symptoms when we change our diets in any way. In this case we simply go after the symptoms themselves. If you need a refresher on how to deal with physical symptoms, check out Learn EFT – EFT 102: Step One – Tune in and Rate – (Physical Issue).
Planning For Success
Whenever we want to make a change in our lives, we would like it to happen right now. I know I wish I could simply snap my fingers and change my habits. This is very difficult to do.
The way our brains are wired, it takes us 14 to 21 days to create a new habit. This means for the first two to three weeks of creating a new habit we are working from will power alone. This is the reason New Year’s Resolutions often fail.
The easiest solution I have found to this problem is to make changes in very small steps. My favorite example of this was of the man who wanted to change his habit of eating lunch at McDonald’s every day. Instead of giving up fast food cold turkey he did it slowly. On the first day, before he ate his lunch he threw away one french fry. On the second day he threw away two. Then three. Then four. Before he knew it, he was eating a healthy lunch. The trick was to creep into it.
When giving up something we crave, we can take the same approach. Let’s take giving up coffee as an example. For the first week, eliminate drinking coffee after 6pm. You can drink your regular amount of coffee until 6 p.m., but every time you crave coffee after 6 p.m., you will tap the craving away instead of drinking coffee.
During week two, don’t drink coffee after 3 p.m. Again, you can drink your regular amount until 3 p.m., but nothing after. The next week move the cut-off time to noon. In the fourth week the cut-off time is 9 a.m.
In five weeks you will be coffee-free.