Using Your Mind
Using Your Mind to Stop Porn
At the emotional core of every addiction is the need to fill up a void and pornography addiction is no exception. However, the problem with pornography addiction is that it is a temporary salve for whatever deeper issues need fixing. That’s why you find yourself returning to get another hit, over and over again.
Studies in neuroscience show that repeated thought patterns create stronger neural pathways in the brain. Repeating the same things causes them to be reinforced in your neural pathways, and that is where the saying “you are what you repeatedly do” originates from.
Most people have not begun to understand how the power of habit has an important impact on our brains. You can train yourself to be anything through the power of habit. But first, the power of habit begins from the mind.
One of the side effects of pornography use is that it slowly takes up space in your mind until it fully takes control. When you repeatedly watch porn over time, it changes the way your brain is wired. It only makes sense that to underdo the effects of pornography, you would have to teach your mind to pay patterned, repetitive, and focused attention on more positive things.
The road to recovery is a constant battle to regain control of your mind, and that’s where a lot of people falter. If you try hard enough, you will always find a justification for using porn. Even when you aren’t trying, thoughts of pornography just seep through your subconscious. That’s why you have to learn how to reframe your thoughts and snap your mind back from wandering back into pornography. So how do you gain control of your mind and use it as a tool to stop porn?
How to Use Your Mind As a Tool to Overcome Porn Addiction
One way to train your mind to overcome porn addiction is to starve it of the negative emotions that make pornography appear to be a solution. Another way is to create an environment for positive thoughts and emotions to thrive.
Create an environment in your mind for positive thoughts to grow.
We constantly talk to ourselves through our thoughts. The kind of self-talk you have with yourself will either break you or make you. It comes as no surprise that then that negative self-talk will motivate your pornography habits. Positive self-talk, on the other hand, creates a nurturing environment for positive thoughts and, in turn, actions to grow.
When it comes to taking control of your mind and creating the kind of narrative you desire, positive affirmation is a gold mine. Positive affirmation is like the road markers that guide you towards your destination. As a result, it has to be bold and emphatic. Since you are looking to change the status quo, a good positive affirmation should not be a statement that reinforces your “normal” or makes you feel comfortable in your current state. It needs to be strong enough to move you from where you are now to where you want to be.
The power of positive affirmations comes from conviction, which sets apart a good affirmation from a bad one. You cannot start a positive affirmation with conditional statements like should, would, could, may, might, as those words do not pack the conviction you need to power yourself to change. Your affirmations should not also be weak, so they don’t sound like an encouragement to stick to the status quo.
Stop beating yourself up.
Addicts, not just porn addicts, tend to wallow in the misery of their addiction. They may think, “I am already screwed up, so I might as well continue,” “I am a mess; this is who I am, and there’s no point trying to change it,” or any other variants of self-loathing and self-deprecating thoughts and punishment. You cannot find true growth and progress if you are still hung up on the shame of beating yourself up.
Each time you catch yourself going down this route, take a moment to repeat those thoughts out loud. How do they make you feel, hearing them coming out of your own lips? They are uncomfortable thoughts that not only affect your mindset and mental health but also give more ammunition to your addiction. Whenever you catch yourself in the middle of a self-deprecating thought, take a minute to reframe that thought and let go of all the negativity attached.
Stop blaming others.
One of the first steps towards full recovery is learning to take responsibility for the role you had to play. Some people would rather pass on the responsibility and fault to others. Even when others are to blame, you need to understand that you cannot change other people. The only person that you have the power to change is yourself. It would be a waste of time and energy, blaming them and expecting them to change so that you can feel better about yourself. Instead, channel that energy inwards and focus on bettering yourself.
Stop aiming for perfection.
Nobody is infallible. Your pornography addiction didn’t come from being “imperfect,” so striving for perfection will not automatically make it all go away. When you keep focusing on trying to perfect, it only sharpens into focus all the several ways that you consider yourself imperfect.
Remind yourself that it is not about how far, but how well.
Sometimes, when you focus so hard on your goals, you miss a lot of other things. For instance, when you focus hard on stopping your pornography addiction within a particular timeframe, you could miss out on many changes you are already undergoing. Even though it feels like nothing is happening yet because you haven’t woken up one morning and found your addiction gone, there are changes happening. You will notice them when you take a moment to just focus on how much you are growing.
Switch your focus from what you lack to what you have.
Whatever you choose to place your focus on directs your attention. When you focus on the things that are missing in your life, rather than the things you have, it creates a void of loss and deprivation. It is easy to fall back on your pornography addiction when there is a gaping hole you need to fill in your life.
Develop a habit of gratitude for the things that you do have instead of focusing on your problems. When you direct your attention towards the things you have, it brings out the richness and fullness in your life that you have been missing.
It is possible to regain control of your mind and be free from pornography, but you must first be convinced you can. You need always to remind yourself that you are not alone. Take each day at a time, surround yourself with loving people who encourage and support you as you find your way. Most importantly, be accountable to someone. Share your goals, your struggles, and wins. Once you have gotten rid of the shame and guilt associated with your pornography addiction, you get to process your thoughts differently.