The stats aren't in yet, but it is assumed that the pandemic will increase rates of depression, anxiety and other mental illnesses significantly. In my social circles, that is certainly the case, and I imagine that many of the readers, listeners, and clients in the DeepClean community are having similar experiences.
Additionally, I have experienced a lot more anxiety the last 1.5 years than ever before. In fact, I've rarely struggled with anxiety. Sure, I've had anxious moments, but during the pandemic I was experiencing levels of anxiety that I had no idea how to deal with. When I find myself in these positions, my initial response usually is research. I try to find people who have gone through something similar, identify the underlying principles that helped them, and then apply those to my own life uniquely.
This process has led me to identify 2 specific concepts that anyone looking to better manage attraction, anxiety, or thought life in general, should pay attention to.
This is essentially staying in control at a psychological and emotional level. Regulation keeps things in order. We are at our best when we are regulated. The spiritual equivalent of regulation is peace. God promises peace throughout scripture, and it is this very peace that keeps us even-keeled and level-headed – poised for good decision-making and clear thinking.
When we are regulated, we can then experience the 2nd concept – Integration. When your system is dysregulated (or not at peace), your body goes into overwhelm and is no longer able to properly integrate the experience.
The classic example is trauma, which is essentially marked by the inability to fully integrate an experience. When we are integrated, we are stable emotionally, mentally, spiritually and relationally. The scriptural equivalent of this concept is renewal. There is safety, security, and a comprehensive experience of life.
So if you experience a really attractive girl or a strong urge or anxious thinking, the first goal is to stay regulated. Don't let it get out of control. If you regulate well, then you can integrate the experience. You can fully process it without any inhibitions or hindrances.
The question then is how do we achieve this? There are myriad solutions out there, but here are a few to get you started:
Awareness. The sooner you can catch dysregulation, the better. When you start to feel that tightness in your chest, or your heart starts racing, pay attention to it. Don't ignore it or shy away from it. Acknowledge and embrace it.
Breathe. Yes, this is the second time this month I am telling you to BREATHE! I will only be repetitious for things that are vitally important. Breathing is in that category. Your breath is an excellent way to stay regulated physiologically and psychologically.
The Senses. Getting in touch with your senses is really helpful for both regulation and integration. Start paying attention to the things you are feeling (physically), tasting, smelling, seeing, and hearing.
Remember that learning to regulate and integrate serves 2 purposes for freedom from pornography.
First, it's going to help you in those moments where you are tempted. The moments that could overtly lead to a slip.
Secondly, these two concepts are going to help you manage things like anxiety and stress, which can indirectly lead to slips if they aren't dealt with.
Either way, he who regulates and integrates well lives well.
Cheering you on,
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