Urges are simply a strong desire to act. Some urges are productive and life saving. The urge to move off the footpath when a bicycle is hurtling out of control toward you for example. Or an urge to scratch an itch. Sometimes, scratching the itch is of no consequence, other times, scratching the itch might not be the best action (think rock climbing, for example). Other urges can be unproductive leading to addictive behaviour such as watching pornography or over-using social media or smart phones.

In this exercise, we will use a tool called urge surfing to help us regulate our behaviour in the face of an urge, without resisting the urge. As described earlier in the self-regulation module, when we resist a temptation (or an urge), we become depleted and consequently find it more difficult to resist the same urge later in the day.

With urge surfing, we stay with the urge until it dissipates.




Urge Surfing Summary

  • Close eyes and breathe.
  • Connect with difficult urge.
  • Name the urge.
  • Notice how the urge feels in the body.
  • Now ask yourself how acting on the urge sits within your stated values? (keep breathing, stay present to how it feels inside your body)
  • Is there an action I can take instead that will align with my values?
    • (might be simply, put my phone on the charger and read a book for a few minutes).
  • Stay with the urge until it dissipates. 


Make sure you move on to lesson 14. Click on the link below that says “back to lesson” and navigate your way to lesson 14.