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July 16, 2019

Surf the Urge

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Have you ever felt the urge to do something, knowing you shouldn’t? It is so strong and your brain does whatever it needs to do to rationalize the behavior. Whether it was holding off on finishing the food on my plate, checking my Instagram to see if people commented on my post, or texting an ex because I felt lonely. I have definitely been there and we all have.  But fortunately for us, there is a solution!

The technique is called Surf the Urge. Basically, when you get that urge to act on something, give yourself 10 minutes between feeling like you want something and indulging on it. This does a few things that positively affect your psyche and decision making process.  

First, notice that you are not resisting the urge. You are not ignoring it or telling it to go away, you are merely putting it on hold for a later time. This makes the urge powerless over your behavior because you give it nothing to fight against. Therefore not providing it with the mental energy that fuels its persistence.

Then second, is taking 10 minutes to wait out the urge does an interesting to your habit process. If you take action immediately, your behavior immediately follows the trigger that prompted it, which is how habits like to work and often continue subconsciously. But, if you put time between the trigger and the behavior, you are weakening the relationship between the two and your decision to act becomes much more conscious. This means that you are deciding based on your intentions rather than your deeply ingrained habits, which is more likely to produce the result you want.

So, the next time you feel that irresistible urge, don’t ignore it. Just tell yourself that you will satisfy the urge in 10 minutes if it remains. Odds are it wont!

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