Cravings and urges are funny things. We can have cravings for food, or drinks but also for actions.
Have you ever had an urge to pick up our phones and browse Facebook while watching TV or an urge to open a new tab while working. I have these urges all the time. An urge to browse Facebook or Reddit — or an urge to eat an iced cream.
The more I thought about these urges the more I realised how autonomous they are. Usually I have performed the action within a second of getting the urge — before I even have time to think let alone interject.
But what would happen if we trained our awareness to notice these urges and resist giving in to temptation? I know we apparently only have so much will power, more so in the morning than later in the day but what if the first step to correcting our behavior is to simply notice the urge and pause before acting.
What if the lack of will power was more a lack of training? I believe this to be the case and the more I practice urge awareness the better I get at resisting the temptation to act upon my urges.
By approaching urges with a mindful curiosity we can learn a lot about ourselves and what drives our good and bad habits. When you get an urge to do something proactive like meditate, exercise, garden or clean up take a moment to notice the urge.
What was you doing before the urge and what thoughts came after it? Do you act differently to urges depending on whether they are easy, comfortable actions or difficult, uncomfortable actions?
Do you mindlessly action bad urges but unwillingly procrastinate against difficult good urges and how would you feel if you behaved differently — try resisting bad urges but actioning good urges.
By practicing the ability to observe your thoughts you can learn to notice these urges and put a “pause” between the thought and the action and then take values guided action.
Give it a try for a few days and see if you can notice any of these behaviors in yourself.