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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 3 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.