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My Meditative Moments

Mindfully Me, ‘Urge Surfing’

by meditative - January 26th, 2017.
Filed under: Mindfulness for Parents & Children, Reflections from Bodhi.

Impulses or urges can be deeply conditioned tendencies toward certain actions- whether they are words or behaviors. Noticing our impulses especially before they carry us away into reflexive action can take real skill of attention, as well as forbearance not to give in to what often can be habitually unwholesome ‘traps’ with questionable consequences. Suppressing impulses or controlling urges can also be quite challenging for youngsters as their “executive functioning” (prefrontal cortex) is still very much developing. It is the brain’s prefrontal cortex where we think and plan our choices for action.

When faced with a rising (emotional) urge and you’re not sure whether to act on it… simply close your eyes and take a couple of long, deep & relaxing breaths into the belly. See how the mindful energy of your breath can soften your ‘urge’ for immediate and often reflexive (automatic) action. As best you can, rest in this space of awareness with your breath- simply breathing & staying with the impulsive wave of energy as it diminishes enough for some clarity to be revealed about what to do.

This technique is referred to as “urge surfing” and it works like a “circuit-breaker” between the links of our relatively automatic (reflexive) thoughts & feelings => and impulsive actions (behaviors). Patiently riding out our impulsive waves can create space between impulse and action… and give us the time we may need to make a more appropriate choice with potentially better consequences.

Ride the wave and watch your urges fade away…

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