Most people aren’t constantly thinking about pornography, but often fall into the trap of looking at it because of other feelings and events that come up in life. Sometimes they are lonely, tired, hungry, angry, or feeling some emotion that they don’t want to deal with. They look for some sort of escape from those feelings, whether they know it or not, and end up looking at porn. These feelings are like triggers on a gun, which can “set us off” to do things we wouldn’t normally do, like looking at porn or acting out sexually. That is why it is important to be especially aware of what are your “triggers” that can make you do and say things that you normally wouldn’t.
An easy acronym for some common triggers is HALT: Hungry, Angry, Lonely, and Tired. You might have other triggers like being bullied, feeling sad, having too much screen time on social media (Quinones & Griffiths, 2017), or listening to an inappropriate song. All of these things can trigger you to want to look at pornography. Obviously, you can’t control for all of these situations, but you can take some steps to get out of your trigger zone and into your virtuous mind.
Here are 3 easy things you can do.
1. Remove the trigger.
If you are feeling those feelings, DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT! If you are tired, then splash some water on your face, walk outside, or take a nap. If you are hungry, go eat! If you are angry, do some deep breathing exercises, say a prayer, remind yourself of happy things. If you have a problem with your phone, then turn it off! It sounds too easy, but it works! Removing yourself from the situation is one of the best things you can do when you feel triggered.
2. Reach out.
Pornography thrives in solitude. Most people feel ashamed when they look at pornography and don’t want others to know. Pornography and connection are opposites, so whatever you can do to reach out to others is going to help you stay strong! Calling a friend and getting out into the public area is a great way to get your mind off of your trigger. Not only can friends and family distract you from your triggers, they can surround you with love and warmth that porn won’t ever be able to fill.
3. Talk to God.
God knows you inside and out. He knows your name, what is happening in your life, what your strengths and weaknesses are, the world and family you live in, and any challenge you may have with pornography. He loves you SO MUCH! Jesus Christ knows exactly how you feel, and He has power to help you if you pray to him. You can just talk to him like any other person. If you find a quiet place to be alone and talk to God, I know He will give you strength and direction on your journey in life (see Philippians 4:13).
Triggers are a part of life. We all have them. We all get hungry, angry, lonely, tired, sad, or depressed at some time in our lives. Maybe even multiple times a day! That doesn’t mean we are doomed to failure, it just means we have to be aware of these feelings, and take steps to not wallow in them. God will help us as we take steps in the right direction. I know it!
Stay strong and virtue on!
Quinones, C., & Griffiths, M. (2017). The impact of daily emotional demands, job resources and emotional effort on intensive internet use during and after work. Computers In Human Behavior, 76561-575.