Wednesday, February 3, 2016

The Art of Vegging Out, Porn Free

[photo credit: https://stocksnap.io/photo/AFB41CF89E]

Why is porn such an attractive way to kill time? It tricks the brain into thinking we are actually satisfying our natural desires for
  • sexual enjoyment
  • aesthetic appreciation
  • human connection
  • flirtation and intrigue
  • acceptance and approval
  • freedom and agency
  • power and assertiveness
So the brain keeps telling us to go back to porn even though it provides no genuine substance along any of these lines. 

Porn is a Lousy Way to Veg Out

Over the last 25 years I've worked with clients who've gotten sucked in by the promise of porn and then discovered it doesn't deliver. 
  • Porn is an overall jolt to the system, not a soother. The net effect over time is that you feel more antsy to look at porn, rather than relaxed and content with life.
  • Porn is addictive. It feels like a choice at first but then the core of your survival brain is screaming at you for it. You start to feel like you need it the way you need food... water... oxygen.
  • Porn disconnects you from yourself. Increasingly, other human traits take a backseat to lust, a quality we share with the reptiles. 
  • Porn disconnects you from people. You only have so much discretionary time, only so much energy and focus. Appreciation of friends and time with family seem to take a backseat, or go out the window altogether.
  • Porn trashes your self-esteem. It stinks to be bossed around by the part of your brain that can't get enough of this degrading habit. 
We Need Better Ways to Veg Out

Before a snake can strike, it has to coil up in preparation. Without that slower process, the productive burst would be impossible. As I pointed out in an earlier post, we are the same way. We can't just keep spending our strength, we must take time to gather it. 

Unfortunately, gathering strength is an unappreciated activity. When we have our wits about us we'd rather focus on performance and productivity. Vegging out is relegated to the junk heap of useless pastimes, what we only end up finding ourselves doing because we couldn't keep going any more. Or perhaps deliberately chosen, but only once we're thoroughly spent and finally have a good excuse to "waste time" for a while.

In his book The 20 Minute Break, Ernest Rossi describes a more effective way of vacillating between productive and rejuvenative modes of living. In fact, he cites evidence that our bodies are designed to cycle between periods of ease and exertion throughout the day. We ignore this natural process at our peril. On the one hand, we burn out. Once depleted, we become much more vulnerable to the call of our unhealthy old habitual ways of killing time, such as porn.

Some Great Ways to Veg Out

Kill time in a way that helps you regroup and gather your strength:
  • Turn away from the technology trough. We don't truly veg out very often because we're so quick to check email, the news, or social media. 
  • Be still for a time. Pause what you're doing without jumping immediately to fill the space with something else. It will take a minute of doing nothing for the buzz of your mind to quiet itself. 
  • Attend to your breathing or heartbeat. This helps you gear down to veg out mode.
  • Settle yourself. Accept that it's you settling you, instead of looking to caffeine, nicotine, food, entertainment, alcohol, or any other boost from someone or something else. 
  • Pick a good veg out mode activity. Look around, walk, breathe, eat, commune with nature, talk with God, crochet, carve on a piece of wood, caress a loved one or give them a back scratch or a foot rub.
  • Slow your pace. Whatever you do as you veg, don't rush it. Deliberately slow down and find a rhythm that feels calm and natural.
  • Come to your senses. Pay attention to the sound of your wife or child's voice. Feel the texture of whatever you're touching. Really see your surroundings as you take a stroll around the neighborhood.
How about you? What do you do to veg out that works better than going to porn or some other unhealthy outlet? 

2 comments:

  1. I love those suggestions. Anyone dealing with anything can benefit from them.
    Unfortunately, when I want to veg out I tend to eat. Lately though I've been trying to relax with a nice big glass of ice water and then distract myself with another activity. It never occurred to me to just calm myself and veg. I'll let you know how it goes!

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    1. I'll look forward to hearing how it goes Auntie!

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