Understand Urge Surfing and How It Can Help You Overcome Binge Eating

How this tool can help you overcome binge eating

Binge eating is a disorder in which people experience uncontrollable urges to eat excessively and can be difficult to manage. While many traditional therapies are available to help cope with the problem, Urge Surfing is an effective technique that has been used by those trying to control their eating. Learn more about how Urge Surfing works and how it can help you work through your binge eating disorder.

What is Urge Surfing?

Urge surfing is a technique used to help people cope with cravings. It involves acknowledging and riding out the urge without giving in to it. This technique can be used to help manage urges for drugs, alcohol, smoking, food, or other behaviours. The goal of urge surfing is to become more aware of the craving and to learn how to manage it without resorting to unhealthy behaviours.

Benefits of Urge Surfing

1. Improved emotional regulation: Urge surfing can help you become more aware of your emotions and gain better control over them. This can lead to improved emotional regulation, which can help you manage stress and anxiety.

2. Increased self-control: As you practice urge surfing, you may find that it becomes easier to resist impulses and make better choices. This can help you increase your self-control, which can be beneficial in many areas of your life.

3. Reduced cravings: Urge surfing can help reduce the intensity and frequency of cravings.

4. Enhanced mindfulness: Practicing urge surfing can help you become more mindful of your thoughts and feelings. This can help you become more aware of how your body responds to different situations, allowing you to make better decisions.

How to practice urge surfing

1. Recognize the urge: 

When an urge arises, take a few moments to recognize and accept it without judgment. Bring awareness to your body and mind as they are in this moment. Feel into the sensations in the body, name any emotions that arise, and notice what thoughts you’re having.

Think about how your current situation fits into the bigger picture of your life. Consider how you want to feel in the future and what this urge is doing to affect that.

Think about how you can take care of yourself in a way that keeps you moving towards your recovery goals.

“Mindfulness gives us a way of being with ourselves and our internal experience so we can be intentional about the choices we make.”

2. Ride the wave: 

Allow yourself to experience the urge without trying to fight it or make it go away. This can be done by focusing on your breath and the sensations in your body. Ride out the craving, observing it come and go. Visualize the urge as a wave that washes over you and recedes. This technique is associated with fewer cravings.

Remind yourself that everyone experiences urges and cravings, and that this too shall pass.

3. Observe the wave:

Notice how the urge builds and then subsides. Cravings often last for around 20-30 minutes but will subside. Pay attention to any thoughts or feelings that come up during this process. This helps you get to know your triggers, thoughts and feelings that make you want to use.

4. Let go of the wave: 

As the urge begins to subside, allow yourself to let go of it and move on with your day.

5. Reframe the experience: 

Remind yourself that this urge is not something that has to be acted on, but rather something that can be observed and managed. Write down the urge: Keeping a diary of urges can be helpful. When confronted with an urge, write down the date, time and situation in which it occurred. If you acted on it, note what happened.

Using healthy distraction in urge surfing

Having positive activities to engage in whilst practising urge surfing can be helpful. This is NOT a way to distract you from your feelings but instead help support you whilst sitting with feeling you might find uncomfortable. Some examples are:

1. Take a walk: Taking a brisk walk or going for a run can help clear your mind and shift your focus.

2. Talk to someone: Talking to a friend or family member to help you get out of your own head and gain perspective on the situation.

3. Do something creative: Writing, drawing, painting, or any other creative activity can help you stay focused and distract yourself from urges.

4. Listen to music: Listening to calming music or upbeat tunes can help you relax and take your mind off of whatever is causing your urge.

5. Read a book: Reading a book can help you engage your mind and get lost in the story, which can be a great distraction from an urge.

6. Practice deep breathing: Deep breathing can help you relax and reduce stress, which can help with managing urges.

7. Do a puzzle: Doing a crossword, jigsaw, or other type of puzzle can help keep your mind occupied and distracted from an urge.

Using Urge Surfing, individuals with binge eating disorder can gain control and form healthier patterns. It’s a powerful tool that can assist in taking the essential steps to manage the disorder and live a happier life.

If you’re struggling with Binge Eating Disorder in the UK or Ireland and want expert guidance to support you through your recovery, book a discovery call to find out more about working with me. Full details of my services can be found here.

Read more here: BLOG: Help with overcoming food addiction, PODCAST: How to overcome binge eating: Part 1

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