Plan Ahead and Prepare for Potential Emotions and Urges.
On this lovely Friday morning, I would like to discuss the power of planning for an ED-Free weekend with the Urge Surfing Exercise.
As the work week brings structure and discipline, victims of ED struggle – often fear – the weekend approaching. The lack of a busy schedule and expected engagements can sometimes throw recovery off track. Too much down time, or stressful weekend commitments may increase your urges to use eating disorder behaviors.
This is why we need to learn how to Ride The Urge Wave.
What does it mean to ride the “Urge Wave?”
I will start by saying that Urge Surfing, like regular surfing, takes PRACTICE. You may fall a few times before you can ride out the full wave.
But urge surfing is CRUCIAL in your Eating Disorder Recovery. While coping skills play a huge role in recovery, there will be times in your battle where nothing can distract you from ED’s excruciating urges.
When eating disorder urges arise, the best practice is to ride the wave! This is one of the most valuable exercises I’ve learned since I began my recovery.
Here is the Step by Step Guide on Urge Surfing
- On Friday morning, pull out a sheet of paper and draw a wave on it (Similar to the photo above).
- At the beginning of the wave, jot down all of your potential triggers for the weekend. Triggers are specific things that may or may not add additional STRESS to your recovery. Below are some examples.
- Social Events
- Family Gatherings
- Dinner plans with friends
- Studying for an exam
- Work Deadlines
- Too much down time
- Keep this piece of paper handy with with you throughout the weekend.
- When stress arrises throughout your weekend, look at your WAVE and focus on the end of it. At this very moment, you are triggered and on the uphill battle towards the PEAK of the wave.
- Ride The Wave. Put your feet flat on the floor. Focus on your impulses and actions. Practice your awareness and BREATH DEEPLY. At this moment you will be fighting against your urges. Fight Them with all of your strength and don’t give in.
- THE URGE WILL PASS. Sitting with the urge, fully aware of your strengths and weaknesses will prove to yourself just how disciplined and strong you are.
- Soon the urge will pass, and you will arrive at the Wise Mind.
Knowing your eating disorder and stress triggers before you come into contact with them will help you be more prepared to ride the Urge Wave. Practice the art of experiencing your cravings in a mindful way (fully aware of its happenings). Recognize (without judgement) your battles and overcome them without using avoidance (distraction). In time, the intensity of these urges will diminish, and your mental strength to beat them will escalate.
After the first time, the second one will be easier… Why? Because you know you can already do it!
(Note: Using Coping Skills to distract your from your urges needs to be a LAST RESORT in this particular practice. It is important that you learn to battle your urges with more strength and less avoidance. However, if you cannot find the internal strength to SIT WITH the urge, please use Coping Skills before giving into the urge)
Good Luck Friends! You can do it!
I am living Proof!
The Frozen Orange Society