Conquer Cravings with the "Riding The Wave Method"
4 min read

Conquer Cravings with the "Riding The Wave Method"

The most powerful journalling exercise template to deal with cravings.
Conquer Cravings with the "Riding The Wave Method"

Cravings are notoriously difficult to deal with.

It doesn't matter if you are intelligent, successful, wealthy, or disciplined.

When you have a deeply ingrained craving or vice, it can seem almost impossible to ditch.

Maybe you go a few days or even a few months without indulging in your particular "bad habit."

But for whatever reason, you re-engage one time and it's back to square one.

The old triggers reactivate harder than ever and all that progress you made is thrown to the wind.

Below I'll list a few common cravings. Do any of these torment you?

  • Alcohol
  • Smoking
  • Pornography
  • Buying clothes
  • Coffee
  • Junk Food
  • Social media
  • Gambling

What causes these cravings is not a weakness of character, but something far more complex.

We are not one single unified Self, but a collection of Selves or "sub-personalities."

It is possible, for example, to have many intentions at the same time. We may want to get fit and lose weight but also really want to eat tasty junk food.

When this happens there is a clash between sub-personalities and the strongest (loudest) will win.

It can be helpful when thinking about cravings or addictions to see that very craving or addiction as a whole separate sub-personality with its own wants, needs, and motivations.

When it gets triggered, the sub-personality wakes up and starts talking and manipulating the central control center to do as it wants.

The bad news is that when addiction is set, it can never be totally destroyed. The good news is it can be weakened and imprisoned. It can be made powerless.

But the only way this can happen is by repeatedly punishing the sub-personality.

This is how the craving logic works:

  1. Trigger for craving (thought or physical)
  2. Sub-personality activates and starts shouting (Danger zone)
  3. Sub-personality is punished as craving is withheld
  4. Sub-personality grows weaker with each passing day
  5. Sub-personality gets more desperate and angry
  6. Relapse becomes harder for a short period (Danger zone)
  7. Sub-personality eventually loses power

We know that not engaging with our vice eventually makes it lose power. This, I'm sure is not new information to you, but the question is...

"What method can we use to help us to punish our unhealthy cravings and eventually transcend them?"

"Riding The Wave" Technique

I was first introduced to Dr. Aziz Gazipura a few years ago when I was looking for books to read on overcoming "nice guy syndrome." I found Dr. Aziz's book Not Nice, and found it life-changing.

Dr. Aziz is a trained clinical psychologist, best selling author, and works a lot in the trenches with people helping them to build confidence and improve their lives.

I was fortunate enough to interview Dr. Aziz about his book on the HighExistence podcast. In the interview, he told me about a new book that was coming out all about self-criticism.

A few months later I read his new release On My Own Side. This was another immediate self-help classic on a topic that was so important yet barely discussed in a mature way.

Towards the end of the book in what was almost a side tangent, Dr. Aziz wrote the following:

About two years ago, I decided to stop all use of pornography. I had been exposed to it at the age of eleven and had used porn regularly since that time, even while in romantic relationships.

After a period of deep investigation of the impact of porn on my life, including my relationship, sexuality, and brain chemistry, I decided I no longer wanted to use it.

So one day, I made the final decision to never use porn again.But I found that this compulsion had a form of intensity that was much stronger than an urge for a particular food. This makes sense, as the rush of dopamine from using porn is most likely stronger than from say, processed sugar.

I began to bring mindfulness to the process and developed a technique that I call “Riding the Wave,” in which you take careful note of the experience of the craving.

The way craving works is that we get triggered and have a spike of dopamine, but then after that spike, the seesaw of dopamine comes down and we have a dopamine deficit.

It's this negative feeling that causes us to chase more dopamine, similar to how the comedown of a drug experience makes people seek more and more drugs to get back their elated state again.

When you "Ride the Wave" you are essentially allowing this dopamine deficit to come and go. It is very much a wavelike experience as the dopamine goes up then down again, but rather than force it to go up with the drug or behavior of your choice, you allow your own brain chemistry to naturally restore dopamine.

Seen from the sub-personality model, by allowing the feelings to come, be, and go, you are listening and hearing this loud sub-personality without blindly following their (bad) advice.

Journal Template

I went ahead and created a Notion journal template based on the Riding the Wave method. Every time you experience a craving, you can open up the template and fill it out. This is an incredibly powerful exercise to overcome all types of cravings.

You can find a  download link to it at the end of the post free for subscribers.

For those who don't use Notion, here is the template written out:

Craving Wave 1

Pay Attention: Pause, Breathe, Close Your Eyes and Ask:

How strong is this craving on a scale from 1 to 10?

⭐️ Rating:

🕰 Time craving began:

What is the craving saying?

(What it is urging you to do, and how your mind is urging you to do it.)

== Wait a few minutes ==

Craving Wave 2

Pay Attention: Pause, Breathe, Close Your Eyes and Ask:

How strong is this craving on a scale from 1 to 10?

⭐️ Rating:

🕰 Time craving began:

What is the craving saying?

(What it is urging you to do, and how your mind is urging you to do it.)

== Wait a few minutes ==

✍️ Writing Prompt: Why don't you want to indulge in this behavior or substance?

Craving Wave 3

Pay Attention: Pause, Breathe, Close Your Eyes and Ask:

How strong is this craving on a scale from 1 to 10?

⭐️ Rating:

🕰 Time craving began:

What is the craving saying?

(What it is urging you to do, and how your mind is urging you to do it.)

== Wait a few minutes ==

Craving Wave 4

Pay Attention: Pause, Breathe, Close Your Eyes and Ask:

How strong is this craving on a scale from 1 to 10?

⭐️ Rating:

🕰 Time craving began:

What is the craving saying?

(What it is urging you to do, and how your mind is urging you to do it.)

Download the Notion Template

Here is the link to the Notion template:

https://www.notion.so/jonbrooks/Ride-the-Wave-78ab3d6ba8d143fb833eac79e26510ce

Just duplicate it into your own workspace and you're set!