People in our society pay a lot of attention to how we eat, how we exercise, and how much physical rest we get—the ‘Big Three’ Typically, we are far less aware of comparable practices for the mind and heart—what we take in, whether we exercise and whether we give ourselves a break on a mental and emotional level.
Similar to what we take into our bodies, what we take into our minds has a large influence. Just like we need physical exercise to stay well, so also our minds need activity and exercise. And in the same way that physical rest makes a difference in how our bodies feel and function, making sure you have some time to literally ‘let your mind rest’ can be essential in this journey.
Let’s dig a little deeper into each of these.
1. Mental rest.
We all know what it’s like to feel physically exhausted. When was the last time you felt emotionally or mentally exhausted? In our fast-paced world, this is a real thing…and reason to make consistent time and space for not doing so many things – including all ‘watching’ or ‘listening’ or ‘talking.’ Similar to getting stressed out, being worn out on an emotional level can make any of us less vigilant when it comes to porn.
In parallel to our discussion on stress, it’s worth asking ‘how can I find more mental rest?’ Like we discussed earlier, it’s crucial to periodically step back from all the doing; finding ways to just be and just rest. For some people, that involves painting or other kinds of art, for others, it’s good books. Every Fortifier is different, so find whatever is most refreshing to your mind.
2. Mental exercise.
If the mind can be exhausted by over-activity, then just like the body, it can also get flabby from under-use. Although we get plenty of stimulation in our digital world, this isn’t the same thing as a mental workout.
Compared to a visual experience that evokes rapid-fire stimulation of the senses, mental exercise involves activities that require us to direct the mind, channel its attention—either in actively receiving new information or, even better, in imagining and creating something in the mind.
Writing and reading are both sure-fire ways to pump the iron in your mind, since both of them call for some heavy lifting. Consider taking a step away from movies and television for a moment, and try diving into a book for a little bit. Train your brain to seek out meaningful and fulfilling activities, and you’ll be amazed at how much stronger you are.
If it’s news to you that the mind can be trained, join the club!
That’s why meditation has become popular as one way to train the mind into greater steadiness and focus.
3. Mental diet.
Like the food we take into our bodies, the ideas, information, and images we take into our minds help shape who we are, how we feel, and what we do. When we allow harmful messages or images to invade our mind, it affects our brain and our life as a whole.
But we don’t have to tell you that. You’ve felt the effects of harmful media in your life. You’ve seen it transform your perceptions for the worse and influence the way you behave. You’ve become dependent on this kind of media; because you enjoyed this mental junk food, it has likely pushed you to isolate yourself from interactions with others.
On the other hand, media that is inspiring or educational is a mentally nutritious diet that nourishes and energizes you. This kind of media teaches you something or motivates and encourages you to do things that will make your life more fulfilling. This kind of learning provides support for your mental and emotional well-being.
A good way to start improving your mental fitness is to simply paying attention to how the different kinds of media you consume influence you personally. Remember, when you fill your life and mind with the good stuff, there will eventually be no place for the junk!
Stronger Mind, Stronger You
Your mind is your greatest tool in this journey to recovery. As you take care of it, strengthen it, and use it correctly, you will be better equipped to handle the challenges involved in fortifying your life. You wouldn’t go into battle with a rusty sword, and you definitely don’t want to face triggers and urges with a distracted or weakened brain.
By resting your mind appropriately, strengthening your brain through healthy exercise, and maintaining a proper mental diet, you’ll be ready to take on the world and make real progress in recovery. You can do it!