Mindfulness of Urges

Psychologists use a version of this meditation to help people with their addictions, including our technology addictions. The idea is the faster we are at noticing our urges, the less likely we will be to helplessly act on them, and thus the more quickly they can pass, allowing us to reset. 

It is extremely hard to reset fully. As with everything about mind, body, and behavior, we are talking about a continuum. We can get better and better at dis-embedding from an urge, but we’re still going to miss some of them, and catch others late. And even with the ones we do catch, the feeling of wanting to act on them can linger for a long while, sometimes causing us to act out all over again as soon as we lose mindfulness.

All of which is fine. Forty percent better, 20 percent better, even 10 percent better—that’s still better. As someone with lifelong impulse control issues, I can definitely say that meditation has reduced my ratio of high-risk behaviors, to say nothing of my blurting-out-stupid-shit-at-dinner-parties ratio.

From the book Meditation for Fidgety Skeptics, coauthored with Dan Harris and Carlye Adler. The book’s dozen or so other meditations can be found on the 10% Happier app. Enjoy!

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