Urge Surfing – Mindfulness for unhelpful urges

It might sound like a strange idea but breathing into and accepting your unhelpful urges or “urge surfing” will help to reduce the control they have over you. And what is an unhelpful urge?

Any urge that compels you to carry out a behaviour that you want to give up, reduce or that has a negative impact on your life. Urge surfing is very useful for breaking the pattern of addictions and avoidance behaviours as well as to assist you in making mindful choices rather than unconscious ones.

Start with something you do that is problematic for you and begin to notice when you’re having the urge to do it. Once you’ve become aware of the urge occurring before the action, you then have the opportunity to work with the urge to “ride it out” until it decreases and/or to reassess what’s truly important.

Consider the example of an overweight compulsive eater. It’s obvious that surfing the urge to have an unnecessary snack instead of mindlessly eating is going to be a healthy choice. Even if the surfing only delays the snack initially… the snack will be mindful because of the urge surfing.

With practice, urge surfing can be a very powerful tool to overcome addictive, unhealthy and “uncontrollable” behaviours. Give the exercise below a try: