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Urge Surfing Guided Exercise

guided audio activity

Urge Surfing Guided Exercise Splash Image

Ages: 12+

Devices: Mobile, Tablet, or Desktop

Topics: Addictions, Emotions, DBT


Urge surfing is a technique for managing drug and alcohol use, emotional outbursts, and other unwanted behaviors. In this activity, participants will learn to “ride out” their urge, like a surfer riding a wave.

The Urge Surfing Guided Exercise is a professionally recorded audio activity. First, participants are guided through mindful awareness of their urge, including their thoughts and feelings. Next, ocean visualization and deep breathing are used to reduce stress and distract from the urge.

Throughout the exercise, participants are reminded they have the ability to observe the feelings related to their urge without having to suppress or act upon them. Rather than giving in to an urge, they will ride it out using distraction, relaxation, and other coping skills.

Customize this exercise by modifying the pace and music. After practicing in session, download a copy of the audio as an MP3 to share with your clients.

Suggested Uses

Education: Teach the concept of urge surfing, and how to ride out an urge using visualization and deep breathing. After some practice, clients may continue using the technique without the audio tool.

Ongoing Practice: Use this audio tool in the moment, during an urge. Every moment of delay may allow the urge to begin fading. Additionally, frequent visualization and deep breathing practice has been found to improve their effectiveness.

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