Bite Sized Habits Newsflash - Managing Temptations/Craving Urges Part 2

"As you start to walk on the way, the way appears"


Something to listen to

Changing habits and reaching goals (38 min listen)

I loved this podcast episode on success and behaviour change. Dr Grace Logan discusses what makes some people succeed while others are unable to reach their goals. I particularly loved her definition of success which was that we need to focus on absolute progress i.e. how far we've come this week, month, year. 

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Something to read

Think you're/they're lazy? Think again... (11 min read)

I really loved this article on why laziness does not exist. It examines the roots behind behaviours such as procrastination. Next time you think you or someone you love is just being lazy hopefully it will support you to look a bit harder, be a bit kinder and understand more about the barriers that are holding you/them back.

Click here

Bite Sized Habit of the week

Managing Temptations/Cravings/Urges Part 2‚Äč

Temptations/cravings/urges are like waves; they build for a while, they rise and they eventually crash into the beach and then disappear. However, we rarely let a craving disappear as we as we are human and do not like to have to tolerate unpleasant states. Unfortunately, the fastest way to deal with it is to follow it which reinforces non-hungry eating. But there is an alternative……we can learn to surf!

This tolerance of our emotions/urges/cravings is known as urge surfing (it’s one of the many skills taught on the Bite Sized Habits course) and here is how you can go about doing it:

Step 1 - Start by pausing and noting how you feel what’s the emotion/urge/trigger note this/write it down.
Step 2 - Pause and breathe your mind will tell you to act now, so take a moment to slow thoughts down, there is no need to rush. Take the time to take 3-5 long breaths in and out.
Step 3 - Try to notice where the urge is coming from in your body rather than your mind what does it feel like? Notice where and how the breath moves through your body. Scan your body for 5-10 seconds. Note where is the urge located? Stomach, throat, and/or head?
Step 4 - Observe it. Notice how it changes or develops. You can name it if you like, e.g. “here comes the chocolate wave”, “here is a craving wave” or “I’m having an impulse to check social media”
Step 5 - Set a timer for 10 minutes and wait. After this you can make a choice; you can indulge the craving or ride it out and if needed repeating steps 1-4.

Note: this is very different from what we normally do which is try and use willpower to resist it. Resistance causes tension. By riding it rather than resisting we are making space for it, inviting it in. Thus, we are in conscious control of it. You have autonomy here, you can choose to give in to a temptation, you are free to, but first, surf the urge for 10 mins. Once 10 mins are up what we find is that if you still desire that sensation, you can give into it. And it turns out by giving yourself that mental freedom, nine times out of ten, you no longer even desire it because that sensation/urge/temptation has passed. The internal trigger has crested like a wave and then subsided.

Published on 19th Aug 2021 at 12:00 by Heather McKee

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Copyright ©2024 Dr. Heather McKee

Dr. Heather McKee is registered in Ireland Reg. No. 687397 with the registered address at 314 Mother Teresa House, Loreto Abby, Rathfarnham, D14 NR20, Co. Dublin, Ireland

This work is in no way meant to replace any medical advice. Dr. McKee is Non-HCPC-registered. Photography by Dylan Madden.

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