Have you learnt the art of urge surfing?

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Are you trying to stop gambling but finding it hard because you keeping having cravings to gamble? Don’t worry, this is very common! Experiencing cravings or urges to gamble is completely normal among people trying to give up gambling. Sometimes it may feel like your urge is so powerful that you have to give in. The urge can feel like it’s getting bigger and bigger, stronger and stronger, making people feel very uncomfortable and wanting to give in to their cravings. BUT if we learn a little about cravings, we can understand why it’s important to not give in!

In actual fact, cravings are time-limited. This means that they won’t actually keep getting bigger and bigger, stronger and stronger…. they WILL go away! Even if it doesn’t feel like it straight away. The urge will build up and, if you don’t give in, it will actually come back down. If we always give in to our cravings, we don’t give our bodies the chance to learn this information, that is, that the craving will come back down.

Have a think for a moment…has there ever been a time when you had a craving to gamble but you weren’t in a position to? Perhaps you were visiting your family, or at work. You may have really felt like gambling, but did it keep getting stronger and stronger for hours or did the urge go away? Perhaps your mind eventually moved on to something else.

Our bodies simply won’t allow urges to keep getting bigger forever. So try and ride out the urge naturally. We call this ‘urge surfing’.  Relax, take some deep breaths and notice the sensations you feel. Where in your body are you feeling the cravings? Try to focus your attention on that area and become familiar with the sensations. It may be uncomfortable at first and this is completely normal! But ride the wave of these sensations and it will bring you back down.

Doing this instead of giving in to your urge will help you to get to know your cravings and learn how to ride them out naturally. Remember, it may be difficult and feel uncomfortable at first, but you’ll get better and better with practice.

If you think you are having trouble with urges to gamble, help is available. Call Gambling Help on 1800 858 858 to speak with a gambling counsellor. Free individual sessions are available to anybody who might be concerned their gambling has gotten out of hand.

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