Urge surfing is when you want to avoid acting on unhealthy behavior that you want to reduce or stop. If you keep thinking about your urges, such as your urge to abuse drugs, it will most likely grow. When you practice urge surfing, you will be able to ride your urges out until they decrease.

What to Know About Urges

It is important to know that urges do not last longer than about half an hour. We give in to our urges by thinking about them, giving them attention, planning to fulfill them, doing things to fulfill our urges, and more. Urges will pass on when we allow them to. While we may not be able to get rid of our urges, we can practice ways to accept them and let them subside without giving in. The same is true for drug addiction, where you cannot let your thoughts control you. If you know that drugs will ruin your life, be stronger than any urge your mind may provide for you.

How Surfing is Linked to Fighting Drug Urges

Urges are like the ocean waves — they first start small. When they grow, surfers trust that the waves will eventually get smaller even when they look overwhelming and large. Just like surfers use their surfboard to get through the wave, you can use the surfboard of your mind against drugs by deep breathing until the urge passes. Instead of trying to fight the water, it is best to ride it out. Just like if you try to block a waterfall, you will be overwhelmed by the water. Mindfulness will teach you how to go past the waterfall by stepping behind it instead.

How to Urge Surf

The first thing you can do when urge surfing is to focus on your breath. Notice the part of your body where the physical sensation is associated with the urge and see what is happening. Notice your thoughts and gently bring your attention back to your breath. Think about the quality, position, boundaries, and intensity of your breath. Instead of wishing so hard for the urge to go away, take an interest in the experience you are having. Start by practicing urge surfing for about one minute per session. Studies show that willpower strengthens the more we practice. If you keep practicing urge surfing, you will be able to ride out the hard wave of addiction.

Urge surfing is when you use mindfulness breathing to ride out the urges you are experiencing for unhealthy habits. If you are struggling with drug addiction, urge surfing can strengthen your willpower and teach you that you are stronger than your thoughts. At Alta Loma, we understand how hard it is to silence your urges. Our transformative treatment center in Georgetown, Texas, can give you the tools you need to thrive, such as 12-step programs, coping skills education, individualized therapy, structure and stability, and much more. Please give us a call at (866) 457-3843 to learn more about our services.


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