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How to reduce your gambling
These tools can help you stay in control of your gambling or quit for good.
You can do it yourself.
- Note down three positive things about how you feel when you’re not gambling. Keep these somewhere safe — such as in Notes on your phone.
- When the gambling urge comes up, read the notes back to yourself.
- Plan ahead — if an opportunity to gamble on a particular event or at a specific time is coming up, make plans to do something else instead.
- Keep busy.
- If you feel the urge to return to a venue or open an app, close your eyes and think about the name or branding of the venue or app. Now think about the name or branding of something you don't like. It could be a type of food or shop you don't like. Do this back and forwards for a few minutes and repeat it each time you feel the gambling urge.
This is you taking control of a pathway you created in your mind and turning it into a road leading out.
- Think about winding the car window down and getting far away to a favourite place.
- People often think they’re gambling to relieve stress. But gambling and losing can actually cause much more stress. Consider an alternative like exercise. Even 15 minutes of physical exercise a day can reduce your stress levels.
- Helping other people with their troubles can have a huge positive effect on the way you see yourself and on your sense of worth. You could volunteer for a cause you’re passionate about or look around and see someone close to you who needs a hand.
- If you feel the gambling urge and you know someone else who also struggles with gambling, reach out to ask if they need help. Let them know that you are going through the same experience. Helping someone else can turn the urge on its head.
Whatever you call it: the gambling urge; the itch; the bug; the addiction. You can come up with a plan and beat it.
Resisting urges to gamble
Most people will experience urges after they try to quit gambling or cut down, particularly early on.
Learning to tolerate feeling uncomfortable during an urge is important to maintain change. The more you can practice this, the better you will be at it.
It is helpful to think of urges like waves at a beach. Like a wave, an urge will eventually break and flow away. So, delaying the decision to gamble, even for a short period, can be very effective. Instead of gritting your teeth and ‘toughing an urge out’, urge surfing involves ‘riding the wave’ until it passes.
Watch this short video that explains more.
Distract or delay
Simply doing something else can help you to keep your mind off gambling.
Whatever you choose needs to take all of your concentration, be easy to do when you have an urge, and last for a reasonable period of time.
Select three activities that you could easily do when you are experiencing a gambling urge. Join the 100 Day Challenge if you need some inspiration.
We also encourage you to seek support when you have an urge to gamble.
There is always someone to talk to, no matter what time of the day or night you are having an urge. You may wish to talk to a family member or a friend. Or you can call Gambler's Help and get some free advice 24/7 on 1800 858 858.
Staying gamble free / bouncing back after a lapse
It can sometimes take a few attempts to quit. After a lapse or set-back it can feel like hard work to get back on track. The best way to do this is through learning from the past, while at the same time looking towards the future. Don’t be too hard on yourself. Take each day as it comes and refocus on sticking to your goal each day.
Find out more ways to reduce your gambling.