For individuals dealing with emotional or addictive issues, the science of neuroplasticity and the power of pure thinking play a huge role. Take pornography addiction for example. Numerous studies and years of research have shown that viewing pornography changes the neuropathways of the brain. These pathways become more ingrained as one continually looks at pornographic content, resulting in a “path of least resistance” in the brain. This then leads to desensitivity to the content and fuels the addiction process.
However, knowing what our brains are capable of is an exciting reassurance in conquering the battlefields of our minds. Dr. Jeffrey Schwartz, a leading expert in neuroplasticity, had this to say in an interview with the Australian Broadcasting Corporation:
“When you understand how the brain works somewhat better, you can use that information to literally enhance your own perspective, broaden your own sense of your capacities and, with that awareness, learn to focus on other things knowing that if you focus on other things consistently you can change what’s there. You can change the way that real estate is used.”
With any addiction, the choice to re-wire our brain and begin blocking porn from our thoughts is never easy and takes hard work. One cannot buy a product to “fix” this—it has to come from within. Thinking purely takes daily focus, determination, and patience.
Author and licensed counselor Michael John Cusick shares his expertise on how to reboot our brains in a positive, pure direction. Each of these actions can also serve those who want to block porn from their lives:
- Cusick first instructs on the need to practice intentional thinking. When we shift away from the negative issue or thinking, our brains will start to do the same.
- Next, pursue alternate passions. When one is in an addictive holding pattern, tunnel vision sets in and many cannot see past the confines of their addiction. By trying new things, the focus begins to shift away from the addiction and begins to rewire the brain to have more affinity towards the new experiences it is taking in.
- Lastly, employ the power of repetition. As shown earlier, repeated behaviors create structural changes in the brain. Just as those behaviors can be negative, resulting in addiction and other disorders, they can also be changed into a positive by repetitious thinking and actions. Cusick notes that as an athlete develops muscle memory, so does repetition lock behaviors in the brain.
Additional Ways to Block Porn and Change Our Thoughts
“Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.” –Philippians 4:8
As individuals focus on changing their purity of thinking this year, here are some additional ways to stay inspired and keep the momentum going:
- Engage in positive self-talk. Positive and encouraging messages to one’s self lead to a greater success in changing the direction of thinking and breaking habits and addictions. If you struggle with pornography, it might include positive messages like, “I can block pornography from my mind!”
- Practice daily gratitude. Psychologists show that consistently practicing this helps to reframe the nature of our thinking. On difficult days, maybe when you are finding it difficult to block porn from your thoughts, take time out to think of the things that you are most thankful for. Focus on what you have, not on what you don’t have. Embrace challenges as opportunities to grow. Taking a few moments to do this shifts one’s ‘state’ to a better place.
- Be an example to others. The change in your thinking will start to become outwardly evident and may even start a change in someone else.
- Be accountable. Have someone help to keep you on track with your thoughts and actions. Practice daily or weekly check-ins to discuss your progress. Finding a trusted friend to help you change behavior is one of the most effective ways to stop watching porn or block any other bad habit out of your life for good.
- Pray and meditate. The quiet time spent will help to consistently re-focus and re-affirm your goals. Be specific with these prayers and say, “God, help me take my thoughts captive! I want to block porn from my mind. I need your help to do this!”
- Exercise. Not just good for us physically, exercise helps to clear the mind and relieve stress.