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Riding the urge wave.

It's common to try and distract ourselves from an urge, or craving to drink or use. There's plenty of research to show that suppressing a thought, feeling or sensation (like a craving), ultimately increases it until we give in.

Learning mindfulness techniques has always really helped me reduce impulsive decision making. These techniques can help us move away from trying to block the waterfall, and instead watch the water flow past because thankfully, urges pass.

By watching our experience with interest (being mindful) we can watch cravings rise, peak and then subside like waves in the ocean. In this way, we can learn how to manage those feelings rather than fear and give in to them.

Here's a really helpful practice to try if you’re experiencing a craving:

~ Watch your breath without altering it. Feel it rise and fall.

~ Notice your thoughts without judgement or blocking them out.

~ Bring your attention back to the breath, lengthening the inhale and exhale.

~ Focus on the area you’re physically feeling the urge. Notice the position, the intensity, and maybe even the temperature of the sensation.

~ Notice if this changes with the in-breath and out-breath. Be curious about what occurs and notice any changes over time.

~ Focus on the intensity as you inhale; release it as you exhale, long and slow. Repeat five times.

~ Repeat the process of watching and feeling the sensation as you move through the breath for a few more minutes (longer if it’s particularly intense).

I hope this helps you.