Wednesday, September 20, 2023
HomeEditorialsChanging My Emotional State To Guard Against Temptation

Changing My Emotional State To Guard Against Temptation

emotions, stress, and temptation, and temptation to pornography are interrelated.
Stress and emotional management is a 🔑 to life.

The most immediate effect of an addictive substance or activity is to induce a change in state. It happens when you pop a pill. It happens when you smoke. It happens when you gamble. It happens when you engage in sexual activity. It happens when you drink coffee or eat ice cream. That isn’t to say that every such action is characteristic of an addiction. Or that every such activity necessarily constitutes a problem in someone’s life. However, it is generally true that what gets people hooked on an activity is that it makes them feel better emotionally.

To be sure, there is nothing wrong with wanting to change our current emotional state from bad to better, or to keep it from going from good to bad. Human beings are hard-wired to seek out things that make them feel good and to avoid things that make them feel bad. The problem is when our desire to experience positive emotion (or avoid negative emotion), in the short-term, hurts us in the medium and long-term.

Medicating Our Emotions

What separates addicts and healthy people isn’t that addicts seek to change their emotional state and healthy people don’t. What separates the two is how they go about doing it. Healthy people change their emotional state by exercising (“motion creates emotion”), hanging out with friends and family, doing meaningful work, cultivating a spiritual life, and resting. Addicts, on the other hand, change their emotional state by engaging in compulsive behaviors, like pornography, or consuming stimulating substances, like drugs or sugar.

To distinguish between actions that trigger changes in state and unhealthy ones, we have to lengthen the time horizon. How is this action going to make me feel, not only in 5 minutes– but in 5 hours? 5 days? 5 weeks? 5 months? 5 years?

Actions that make us feel good now and later (like creating positive memories with friends & family, playing sports, doing hobbies, etc.) are the best of both worlds. However, we can jumpstart our healing by getting rid of actions that overtly cause damage across a longer time horizon.

You don’t have to be the victim of your environment. You can also be the architect of it. . .

James Clear in Atomic Habits

It takes effort, diligence, and perseverance to build better relationships, cultivate wholesome habits, and work on deep emotional issues. However, no matter who we are or where we are, we all have some say over the people we surround ourselves with and the habits we cultivate.

With the right people and processes in place, feeling better right now does not have to come at the expense of feeling better in the future.

For more, see the complete archive of articles on integrity.

An intellectually curious millennial passionate about seeing people make healthy, informed choices about the moral direction of our lives. I got my B.S. from Georgetown University and my M.A. from The Ohio State University.


Leave a Reply

Editor's Picks

%d bloggers like this: