So, what can you do when this happens? The most important thing is to realize that it is happening and to channel that energy in another way. Pay very close attention to yourself. Recognize what is happening in these moments, what are you thinking and feeling? And why are you tempted by porn? Developing your understanding and awareness of yourself allows you to more quickly identify when to act. This is the trigger. The trigger can be when you know you are going to look at porn or even the moment when you find yourself looking at it. Obviously, the earlier you recognize the trigger the better, but the point is simply to notice it.
The next step is to pick a few substitution activities you can do instead when you recognize the trigger. Pick activities that allow you to channel your energy in another way and preferably something you like doing. Some examples of substitution activities are working out, going for a jog, playing sports with friends, going for a walk, or engaging in a hobby like art or music. The key is to pick things that require you to use physical and/or mental energy and get your mind off porn. Pick 2-3 things and remember these as your go-to substitution activities.
Now, anytime you notice your trigger, get off your butt and go do one of your substitution activities. When you can tell you are about to look at porn or even if you are starting to: STOP. Stop what you’re doing immediately, be aware that this is your trigger, and go do one of your substitution activities. It doesn’t matter which one you pick, react immediately and go do it. Develop this like a reflex so every time you notice the trigger you react automatically with one of your substitution activities. This is the art of the Substitution Trigger.
This technique is extremely useful for several reasons. First, it develops self-awareness and helps you overcome your weakest moments. Additionally, it helps you realize that overcoming porn is not about being perfect. You are not a failure because you look at it one time. Temptation will come, and that is normal. The key to success is having a process in place for when that temptation comes so you are prepared to fight it off and overcome it. Finally, by using energy to do something else you feel good about yourself and get your mind off porn. In this way you nullify the temptation.
Let's sum it all up with an analogy: "When you have an itch -- don't scratch it. Engage your energy elsewhere and you will find that the itch disappears."
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