By now, you are probably a little concerned with the prospect of spending your life enslaved by your reptilian and emotional brains.
The unfortunate reality is that our brains have the capacity to get better at the behaviors that we repeat consistently. So if you’ve spent the past 5-10-15-20 years of your life practicing an emotional brain response, chances are you’ve gotten really good at it.
The good news is that our brains have the capacity to get better at the behaviors that we repeat consistently.
So the trick is to practice the healthy behaviors. To consciously work on strengthening your thinking brain, as well as learning to recognize the behaviors of your emotional brain.
Over time, old emotional associations will become weaker, and the new, healthy ones will get stronger. Eventually you will be able to walk away from pornography because it feels good to walk way. This however, will not happen overnight.
In succeeding chapters, we are going to look at a systematic way for you to fight your addictive response. This process will take time, so here are a few simple things you can begin practicing today to help strengthen your thinking brain.
Remember how I asked you to keep track of your emotions and thoughts throughout the day? I also recommend for you to begin to journal about your observations.
Make sure that your journal is private, and that nobody else can access it. It is extremely crucial that you be completely honest and open with your journal.
Journaling is not keeping a diary, but rather looking back at your day, and consciously analyzing what was driving your emotions and behaviors throughout the day.
This practice will allow you to strengthen your thinking brain, as well as to get in touch with and better understand your emotional and reptilian brains.
Find something that is very pleasurable for you and practice postponing it for 10-15 minutes.
For example, first thing that I want to do every morning is to check my email. I choose to do my morning practice instead (we will talk more about morning practices later). By doing so, I practice my thinking brain response.
In comparison, on the days when I skip my morning practice and go straight for my email, I practice my emotional brain response.
We are faced with opportunities to strengthen our thinking brains on a daily basis. Even if stopping pornography might be too hard for you right now, there are other small steps that you can take to help your thinking brain get stronger.
Delaying Your Actions
This one is similar to delaying gratification.
If you feel a strong emotion forcing you to do something, practice postponing this behavior for a short period of time.
For example, if you get angry at your co-worker, you can type up a response email, but don’t hit the send button. Let it sit there while your emotional brain cools down. Or if you come up with a really exciting business idea, write it down and leave it alone for a while. Come back to it the next day and see if it still looks feasible.
Controlling Your Breathing
Just like I mentioned before, breathing is the secret key to your reptilian brain. So anytime you notice yourself react with the reptilian or emotional brains, try practicing deep breathing.
For example, if somebody cuts you off in traffic, causing you to feel anger, immediately begin to breath.
Similarly, if you see something on the street or on TV that triggers your addiction, try to do the breathing exercise.
Ten breaths in, hold it for 10 seconds, 10 breaths out. Repeat it until you feel better.
These four tips are simple but they are very powerful! Make sure to practice them, simply reading this book will do very little for you.
Our society does not do a very good job helping people to develop their thinking brain. In contrary, our entire media industry is built on training people to make decisions (buy) with their emotional and reptilian brains.
Unfortunately by this point in your life, your emotional brain has caused you so much pain that it forces you to look for help. But this can be good news.
Looking back at it, my addiction is the best thing that ever happened to me. No, I am not happy with all of the pain and sorrow that it brought into my life and the lives of my loved ones. I am not happy about all of the time that I’ve spent fueling my addiction. I am not happy with all the dreams that I gave up on, choosing to act out.
But I am happy that I am finally awake; that I am finally able to see things around me for what they really are. I am glad that I have the rest of my life. I have the rest of my life, not my addiction, not the media, and not the porn industry.
And I believe that you will have a similar experience, even if you might not feel like it just yet.
In the next chapter, we are going to take a look at how to create your recovery plan.