Battling with unwanted habits?

Fighting with your own thoughts?

Here’s a simple technique to help you stay on top.

Illustration of a brain riding a surf board

#1 Urge surfing

We’re all prone to unwanted habits and addictions. When we act on the impulse, our brain gets the message that we can only make the urge go away by doing the thing.

Sometimes we suppress the impulse or distract ourselves, but that’s hard work.

If we give ourselves a few moments to feel the urge instead, to really feel it, something positive happens. The urge can pass, like a wave, by itself.

#2 Emotion surfing

We all experience difficult feelings and thoughts too. That’s part of being alive, but we have a tendency to get stuck in this place. Worrying, ruminating and criticising ourselves.

Trying to suppress unwanted feelings and thoughts is hard work too.

If we meet our emotions with curiosity, and simply feel them, these feelings can pass too. Leaving us with more headspace to move forwards in our lives.

Try surfing your urges

If you’d like to learn how to surf your urges and emotions, here are two guided audios that you can follow.

Who developed the urge surfing technique?

The term urge surfing was introduced by pioneering psychologist Dr. Alan Marlatt in the early 1980s.

Image credit: AZ Quotes

The concept has been used in popular therapy approaches including DBT and ACT. Find out more about the evolution of the urge surfing technique.