Monday, 14 December 2015

The Science of Habit Change

Part 13/14 (to see other parts of the article, click on the pages at the bottom)

Click here to listen and/or download this article as a professionally recorded AUDIO BOOK (45 minutes).

Changing the Routine

When feeling weak, we need to experiment with various alternate routines to discover what the triggers are and what the particular rewards are that the brain is seeking through acting out. Over time, we can retrain ourselves to rely on new activities and coping methods rather than the old destructive, addictive ones. As soon as the craving hits, we will redirect our focus to a new routine.

For starters, we can try some easy routine replacements and see if those help. For example, try taking a snack instead of acting out. Perhaps the trigger was caused by hunger, or perhaps the body craves a rush, which sugar or a coffee can provide. Another time you feel weak, try taking a nap instead of acting out. Perhaps the trigger was caused by tiredness or stress and your brain just craves a shut-down and reboot.

Another great routine that can often replace the acting-out is a session of physical activity. The pornography habit of watching, masturbating, and reaching orgasm is physical, so a replacement should be a short physical exercise. When feeling triggered, we can train ourselves to put off the acting-out until we first go for a 30 minute walk, or even just a ten minute run. Look also into Yoga, Pilates, running, weightlifting, or martial arts. The adrenaline boost of exercise has been shown to be a great replacement for the chemical rush that our brains have come to crave through the lustful behaviors. Although intense exercise may not feel good to those unaccustomed to it, according to a recent study, it does have at least one great perk: the runner’s high, which is a feeling of relaxed euphoria, which sets in at the end of long bouts of activity. The study shows that exercise causes the body to produce a particular neurotransmitter that makes the body relaxed—the same one trigged by smoking marijuana or other addictive behaviors.

If the trigger is boredom, we can try to create new, healthy internet habits that will enhance our lives, such as researching a favorite subject or learning how to make something we are interested in. We can also try to reconnect with old interests. It’s likely that we have been consumed by our pornography habit to the exclusion of many, if not all, previously enjoyable activities. Try to re-establish activity in things we used to love, whether it’s a sports, reading, learning, whatever used to spark our interest and passion. As we re-establish this connection, we will also tap back into liking ourselves, a sense of accomplishment, and healthy self-worth.