Hey everybody, it's me, Dr. May here to talk about an aspect of mindfulness that's really helpful and important. This part of mindfulness is called urge surfing.
Okay, it's an aspect of a mindfulness skill, and it's applying mindfulness to help with your impulsive target behaviors. So, come join me. And we'll go over this together today.
As usual, we'll do a quick review of what mindfulness is. Mindfulness is fully awake, an embodied awareness that arises through paying attention, on purpose, in the present moment, has to do with focused attention, open awareness, and kind intention. So we're going to go over how mindfulness helps in this process of impulsive behaviors.
So on the top of the screen, you might be familiar with this process of having an urge to do something and immediately going to to the action. So if you feel like blurting something out, you actually would be that you'd actually blurt it out and say it without even thinking without any separation between the urge and the action. Just like those squares, I mean, inside those rectangles are right next to each other, there's no space between them. So what happens with using mindfulness, which gives you more of a wise mind choice, is noticing the urge, and putting that pause in between. So pausing as we've talked about in other videos is a really important first step for mindfulness, you need to pause first, before you can start checking out the situation, observing, describing and participating, and then finally, making a wise action. So the second half of the screen here is associated with wise mind. Alright, so for example, if I have an urge to hurt myself, instead of just running to do it, if I observe what that urge feels like, and I step back from it, and I think it through, maybe I can ask for help instead. Or I can use a coping skill instead. And those could be action two, or action three. Alright, so now I have a choice, instead of having no choice at all. Now I have a choice. Okay, so what does it mean to mindfully observe your urge?
Well, if you remember from a what skills observe is one of the main what skills so observe, is tuning in at the level of pure sensation to see what this urge actually feels like?
One thing you can notice is, what is it that I feel like doing? What's the urge telling me to do? What action step? Is it trying to prompt me to do? What kinds of thoughts and images are coming up for me, as I'm experiencing this urge, so maybe you're picturing that thing you want to do? Or you're picturing how good it's going to feel, or you have some kind of like a thought or an image that goes with it?
What emotions you're experiencing? So there could be an emotion that's driving the urge. So it might be trying to put you in motion, right? Because emotions usually have an action urge associated with it. Right?
So if I'm really angry, and my anger is telling me to hit somebody, I might have that urge to hit somebody. Right? So the emotion is connected to the whole process, tuned into what it feels like in your body. So all emotions and urges have a physical component. So tune in with curiosity and saying, How do you? What does it feel like? Sometimes I know, I feel like there's a certain pressure forward that I feel like in my face in my chest, like it's urging me forward to do something, right. So that's one thing that I have observed, you might observe something different, you know, you might observe a heart racing, you might observe a certain kind of tension or restlessness, okay.
Whatever is you observe is okay, just kind of notice it. Alright, so here's a cool diagram, it combines the surfing metaphor, okay. And if we remember that if we don't mess with the urge, if we don't act on it, and we don't try to keep it around by obsessing about it over and over again, the urge naturally passes. So it goes up, and then it goes back down.
It's really interesting. If you give it a chance, and you don't act out on it, when it gets to the peak of that curve, you'll actually learn to realize that it really does pass and you'll trust that it's going to pass because you've had that personal experience of allowing it to pass. So when the urge starts to get strong, you won't feel as compelled to act on it as a way of making go away. You'll trust that if you don't act on it, it naturally will go away. And that's really important. Being able to trust that process and actually experience it and know it for yourself on a deep level. Because on an intellectual level, it may be hard to believe And it may be hard to tolerate the uncomfortable feeling of the urge if you don't really believe it's gonna improve.
But trust me on this one, just like with emotions that will come and go if you don't mess with them. Same thing happens with urges to do target behaviors.
Okay, so urge surfing this stuff, put it all together.
So we're going to observe the way the urge feels, from moment to moment, because it may not feel exactly the same right now, as it will a minute or two from now, things always are in the process of shifting and changing, everything's improvement.
We can try breathing through the uncomfortable sensations. So noticing where in your body feels the strongest, and imagine your breath, going to that spot and breathing out some of that feeling. And it starts to loosen it up a little bit, reminding yourself of that diagram, and that it will pass and it won't last forever, right? Because when we think it last forever, we feel more compelled to act.
And of course, get support if necessary. All right, reach out to someone you trust. And maybe they could help you through it. If you really feel like you can't do it on your own. Sometimes you might have to do it on your own. But other times, you know, we can work with each other to help.
Okay, so here's a little practice. All right, just so you can see how it works. Um, so these are things that we all do every single day.
Notice the urge to swallow, sit quietly until you have the urge to swallow. But try not to swallow is try to notice what it feels like what you're experiencing emotionally. What the physical urge is doing to you. And but try not to swallow anyway.
Okay, I know, eventually, you will, because we all need to. But if you could do this for a couple of minutes, you'll get the sense the sense of like how the urge surfing practice can work.
Another version of that, which kind of may happen a little bit faster, because it's really hard to hold on to this for a long time is to open your eyes and try not to blink. But notice the urge to blink, and what that feels like in your eyes, or what that emotional experience is like, and, you know, try to hold it out as long as you can. But when you blink, you know it's over. But that's okay. You can always try it again.
Alright, so those are just two, like many practices, you could try just to get a flavor of the urge surfing. But of course, the ultimate goal is to do it for the target behaviors that you're working on. Okay, and you know what those are? All right. So that's pretty much it. I mean, it's it's a pretty straightforward skill. And you just got to try it. You just got to practice it. So give it a chance.
Check it out, and I hope it works for you. All right. Thanks, guys. I'll see you next time. Bye.