Moving Beyond Mistakes in Marriage

Posted on Updated on

Great article from the Gottman Institute:


I recently saw a video of a couple gracefully dancing on the streets of Israel, moving in and out of crowds, encapsulated by one another and their dance.

This couple moved with immense strength, agility, and elegance. Every step, spin, and lift was a piece of fine art. Their flawless performance left me mesmerized, inspired, and eager to return to the dance classes my husband and I had begun taking at Flow Studios in Seattle.

During our second lesson, my inspiration quickly turned into frustration as my partner and I began tripping over each other’s feet, colliding with one another, and growing steadily disheartened.

Our dance was anything but graceful.

Mistakes are normal

As we moved clumsily across the dance floor, I recalled the Israeli couple and their “flawless” dance. I had to remind myself that while this couple’s dance appeared perfect, they definitely made off-camera mistakes and had probably already practiced this dance hundreds of times.

No couple is perfect, whether on the dance floor or in everyday life.

From a distance, there are plenty of individuals or couples who appear to live their lives perfectly together. But in reality, we all slip and stumble from time to time.

While mistakes are inevitable in our relationships, it is how we respond to them that makes all of the difference between relationships that are resilient and flourish through imperfections, and those that crumble apart.

Pause: Acknowledge when you stumble

If, or rather when, you stumble with your partner (on or off the dance floor), it is necessary to first acknowledge the mistake.

When we take the time to acknowledge that we have messed up, we should mindfully search ourselves for the potential roots of our blunder. In taking the time to “check ourselves,” we build greater self awareness and cultivate the ability to choose wisely in the future.

On the dance floor, this can happen in the flash of an eye.

When we began our lesson, I repeatedly found myself tripping over my partner’s shoes but continued to stubbornly push through, determined to move beyond and perfect our dance.

It finally dawned on me that this issue wasn’t going to fix itself until we paused to take the time to explore the roots of the problem.

Our dance teacher, Michael, explained the importance of looking up at your partner and staying focused on the rhythm of the music. “No matter what you do, stay in beat with the song,” he described.

I had been so intensely preoccupied looking down, trying not to trip over my husband’s feet, that I had completely forgotten to listen to and feel the rhythm of the music. Taking a moment to pause and reflect on the roots of our stumbling was crucial to resetting our dance. In this situation, I inevitably needed a little external guidance to build this awareness.

While acknowledging our issues or mistakes is pertinent, it is equally as essential that we don’t “get stuck” looking down, or internalizing that we are defined by our imperfections.

Brené Brown explains the difference between shame and guilt as related to our mistakes. While guilt says “I did something bad” and is a normal, healthy reaction when we operate outside of our value system, shame says “I am bad.”

“Shame corrodes the very part of us that believes we are capable of change,” she describes.

When I was stuck in a pattern looking down at my feet stumbling on my partner’s, it was hard not to internalize that I am simply a “bad dancer,” and that there’s not much hope that I will ever improve. As I was able to shift my lens and look up at my partner, I was able to glean more hope that together, we could improve and strengthen our dance and relationship.

Process: Make repair attempt

After recognizing that one has made a mistake, it is important to make a repair with your partner.

The Gottmans explain that while it is normal to make mistakes and have conflict with your partner, healthy relationships are those that make repair attempts. Repairs, defined by the Gottmans, are “any statement(s) or action(s) — silly or otherwise — that prevents negativity from escalating out of control.”

As my partner and I danced in our second lesson and I continued to clumsily stumble over his feet, I felt my blood pressure starting to rise with waves of frustration emerging above the surface. My partner inevitably felt these forces in our dance, which suddenly had taken on a rather negative tone.

While it wasn’t necessary for me to apologize every time I stepped on my husband’s feet, it was crucial to make a repair before I got “flooded,” as the Gottmans call it, and said or did something regrettable.

So how do you make repair attempts? They can vary drastically from couple to couple, and from situation to situation.

In this situation, I not only apologized verbally to my partner for my impatient and frustrated attitude, but also threw in some big, theatrical dance moves, twirling my partner around and dipping him, in an effort to lighten the mood and let him know that we are on the same team.

Through this repair attempt, we were able to break our negative pattern that was spiraling downwards and reset our tone with greater gentleness, playfulness, and care.

Over time, we have become increasingly quick and effective in making and responding to repair attempts. It is a skill that, if practiced, will help strengthen your ability to recover and thrive as a couple.

Proceed: Continue the dance

After acknowledging your mistakes and making repairs, keep dancing!

It may not be necessary to stop and have an extended conversation after every single slip and mistake. Every situation will vary greatly. Sometimes, a repair is a quick facial exchange acknowledging a mistake. Sometimes it means throwing in a silly dance move, or sitting down to have a five-minute conversation. Other times, it may involve seeking out external help through a therapist or other trusted individual to help you process as a couple.

Regardless of how long it takes you to work through the first two steps, at some point, it is crucial to move on, look ahead and continue your dance as a couple.

“Keep dancing! Don’t stop! Keep going!” our dance instructor shouted to us as he caught sight of me breaking our dance, discouraged by more tripping, even after we had processed the cause and remedy of our stumbling patterns.

As we moved forward and continued the dance, we kept a few principles in mind.

First, we focused on staying in rhythm with the music. When we stay in rhythm or true to the beat of the music, or our values, we are going to function more harmoniously as a couple.

What are your values as a couple, and as an individual? As we build awareness of and maintain focus on our values, we are more likely to operate within their realm.

Second, rather than looking down and stumbling on our feet, we focused on keeping our heads up and our eyes on each other as the central focus of our vision. As we did this, we actually found that we not only stumbled less, but also experienced a deeper connection and synchrony, which began to polish our dance.

Expand your story

We can choose to focus on our mistakes and internalize that there is little hope for change within ourselves or our relationship. Or we can acknowledge our mistakes, explore their roots, make repairs, and move on to continue the dance.

The choice is ours. We do not have to be defined by our errors. Instead, we can choose to learn and grow from them as we strengthen our personal and relational resilience and weave a preferred story of who we are, and who we want to become.

We can choose to recognize that we are imperfect human beings, but that together we are committed to move past our imperfections, to create a dance that reflects our story as a couple—one that is marked by unconditional love, joy, strength, and creativity.

This is part two of a four-part series on relationships and dance. You can read part one here.


Article source: https://www.gottman.com/blog/moving-beyond-mistakes-marriage/

Advertisements

5 Love Languages & Recovery

Posted on

Great article on the importance of understanding how your “love language” influences recovery:


Personal relationships with significant others, family members and loved ones can be some of the most triggering and challenging experiences that individuals in recovery from addiction encounter. In my own experience, developing healthy boundaries, practicing self-care and learning how to genuinely careGIVE instead of careTAKE has been so important in my journey of recovery from co-dependency. These concepts are not only important to individuals with co-dependency – developing healthy relationships is integral to recovery from any addiction including alcoholism, disordered eating, substance abuse, gambling and sex addiction to name a few. When a relationship is suffering, we often don’t realize what our needs and expectations actually are – of ourselves, of the other person, and of the relationship. We tend to draw our attention to only what we aren’t getting, focusing our lens on the character defects of the “other” which can be extremely upsetting and bring on many feelings of shame, defeat and pain.

Another concept that has become part of my ‘recovery regime’ is learning to understand and acknowledge my loved ones ‘Love Languages’. This practice created by Gary Chapman, termed The 5 Love Languages, has revolutionized my life, and has significantly improved all of my personal relationships.

According to Dr. Gary Chapman, an internationally-respected marriage and family life expert, love is a form of communication. His work teaches people to speak and understand emotional love when it is expressed through one of five languages:words of affirmation, quality time, receiving gifts, acts of service, or physical touch. Here is a quick rundown of what they all mean:

  • Words of Affirmation: Expressing affection through spoken affection, praise, or appreciation.
  • Acts of Service: Actions, rather than words, are used to show and receive love.
  • Receiving Gifts: Gifting is symbolic of love and affection.
  • Quality Time: Expressing affection with undivided, undistracted attention.
  • Physical Touch: With this love language, the speaker feels affection through physical touch.

Chances are, you can relate to a few of these. Maybe you relate to all of them. But most of us have one or two that are much more important to us than the others, and it’s different for everyone. When you know what your partner values most, it’s a pretty big eye opener. For example, In the past I had been giving my significant other small gifts to show that I care. I put a lot of thought into those gifts, and I loved surprising him. I became frustrated when he didn’t seem to care (as much as I would have liked) or return the gesture. I then began focusing so much on what I wasn’t getting –  Without a deeper understanding of my own and and my partners love language even though the love was present, we both, at times, felt unloved and unappreciated.

By understanding each love language, our primary love language, as well as the primary love languages of others, we are better equipped to express and feel love more effectively.

For me it is not about denying my needs in a relationship – but about becoming CURIOUS and OPEN to other forms of love and admiration, as well as identifying and sharing my favourite ways to give and receive love. You can take the quiz on Dr. Chapman’s website  http://www.5lovelanguages.com/ to determine your primary love language, and I suggest that you encourage your loved ones to do the same. Understanding how to love and letting others understand how to best love you can be great tools to effectively communicate, and eliminate unnecessary problems.

By being proactive in our recovery from addiction, and by tending to relationships, we can improve ourselves and those relationships that we desire to grow. When we open our eyes to love in this way, we may see that it is in fact all around us.

Lisa Nixon


Article source: https://www.cedarscobblehill.com/5-love-languages-recovery/

Relentless Love of God

Posted on Updated on

This post is a “re-post” of a great article forwarded to me by a friend: 


Relentless Goodness

 Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the LORD forever (Psalm 23:6, ESV).

If you’re a follower of Jesus—if by faith you have turned from your sins and received His forgiveness—I have news for you.

God is after you.

IF YOU’RE A FOLLOWER OF JESUS, GOD IS STILL PURSUING YOU.

He’s still pursuing you. Wanting more of you. Hungry to make sure you’re experiencing every blessing that His Son died and rose again to give you, for His glory.

It doesn’t matter how defeated or discouraged you are today. He’s still after you. All that matters is that you are His. “My sheep hear my voice,” Jesus said, “and I know them, and they follow me” (John 10:27). Is that you? Following Him? Not perfectly, of course, but following? Sometimes stumbling, but still getting up? And following? And trying again? And wanting to follow Him even better, even more?

Then God Himself is also following you. He’s on your trail. He’s after you. Promising you that your best days are still ahead of you, no matter where you’ve been or what you’ve done. Your greatest days of usefulness and service to God are still in the future, because “goodness” (defined as bounty and blessing) and “mercy” (lovingkindness and favor) will be on your heels and hunting you down every second of the time.

Can’t be true, you say . . .

Too many failures. “I’ve failed God too many times. No way am I on His first team anymore. I’ve blown it. I have areas in my life where I’ve never gotten victory. Even today I failed again. I’m on the shelf from here on out, and I know it.”

Too many years. “It’s too late for me. Too much water under the bridge. It’s fine for those who came to Christ as kids or in college or whatever. But I showed up late to the party. The best I can do is just sneak into a back corner of heaven.”

Too many others. “I don’t have any big-time gifts. I don’t have any great abilities. Other people have training and know what they’re doing. Not me. I’m just not that important. It might even be wrong for me to get in their way.”

Too many obstacles. “I’ve got so many things going on in my life right now—work, family, health stuff, all of it—I don’t really have time. And I don’t see it changing anytime soon.”

Believe me, I’ve heard all these lies and dodges before. They’re as old as time, because the enemy will do anything to convince you that God has lost the scent and given up on you.

But just you try staying hidden behind these shadowy half-truths. Just you try imagining you’re out of sight, out of mind. Just you try giving in to the unreality that your home and heart are off His grid, out of His hunting zone.

Because, listen. Can you hear it? It’s the panting of the hound of heaven, running full-speed, headed your way, chasing you down. Following you “all the days” of your life—not to rip into you, but to restore you and refresh you, to overwhelm all of life’s badness with His “goodness.”

Related image

Journal

  • Which of these fears and excuses have sometimes convinced you that God’s “goodness and mercy” are not coming for you anymore?
  • How different would your life be, even today, if you wholeheartedly embraced this truth?

Pray
Lord God, I believe Your Word, even when I doubt myself. I believe what You have done to claim me as Your own, even when I too often resist You and choose my own way. Thank You for loving me enough to want me experiencing the full blessing of relationship with You. And thank You for relentlessly pursuing me until I’m actively living in it. In Jesus’ name, amen.

article source: https://www.jamesmacdonald.com/teaching/devotionals/2017-09-15/

 

4 Truths about Recovery

Posted on

1. Once porn is left behind, the brain pathways it created will start to fade.

(Source: Doidge, Norman. The Brain that Changes Itself. New York: Viking, 2007.)

Have you heard the “feed the right wolf” analogy? If not, it’s pretty simple:
If there are two metaphorical wolves locked in a power struggle, you can decide the outcome by choosing to feed one or the other. The one that is fed becomes stronger. As one urge or “wolf” becomes stronger, the other becomes weaker. This is exactly what happened when you started getting involved with porn, you kept feeding it and it got stronger. If you turn the tables, the urge for porn will begin to fade away. As we build positive influences into our lives and gain more and more distance from pornography, the pathways in our brain that tell us we need it will start to shrink. It will be slow but it will happen.

2. When a brain that has become accustomed to chronic overstimulation stops getting that overstimulation, neurochemical changes in the brain start happening. As a result, many users report withdrawal symptoms.

(Source: Avena, N. M. and P. V. Rada. “Cholinergic modulation of Food and Drug Satiety and Withdrawal.” Physiology & Behavior 106, no. 3 (2012): 332–36.)

This might sound bad but it is actually very good. Like a bodybuilder who learns to love the burn because it is tearing their muscles down to grow stronger, we can anticipate and welcome the pain of recovery. Withdrawal sucks and it can be frustrating, but it means our brain is changing. Instead of looking at withdrawal pain as evidence of how messed up you are, think of it as painful healing or soreness after a workout.
And guess what? Former addicts have found that when they approach their withdrawal symptoms with this type of positivity, they find the pain less powerful and shorter. It’s a win-win to endure the pain in order to break free.

3. The brain can regain sensitivity to healthy, every day activities.

(Source: Lisle, Douglas and Alan Goldhamer. The Pleasure Trap. Summertown, TN: Healthy Living Publications.)

One of the main parts of your brain that is affected by porn use is the reward center. Basically what happens is that things gets overused, which results in it producing less of the the “happy chemicals” (dopamine, serotonin, adrenaline, etc) and also becomes less responsive to them. This means it takes more stimulation to make us feel good. If we eliminate porn as our main source of these chemical releases, our brain will start looking for new ones. We need start to connecting to positive things in our life that will actually support our physical, emotional, mental and social health. These connections might start off small, but they will grow and eventually replace the old neural pathways.

4. Research indicates that damaged frontal lobes can recover once constant over-stimulation stops.

(Source: Kim, Seog Ju, In Kyoon Lyoo, Jaeuk Hwang, Ain Chung, Young Hoon Sung, Jihyun Kim, Do-Hoon Kwon, Kee Hyun Chang, and Perry Renshaw. “Prefrontal Grey-matter Changes in Short-term and Long-term Abstinent Methamphetamine Abusers.” The International Journal of Neuropsychopharmocology, 9 (2006): 221–28.)

Addiction can cause harmful changes in the brain, the most common of which is frontal lobe shrinkage. This is a big problem because the frontal lobes of the brain are the part that deals primarily with choice, logic and reasoning. This change is one of the main reasons scientists believe addictions can become so powerful, it’s like we’re missing the part of our brain that helps us make good choices. That’s why addicts—even the ones who want to quit—keep returning back to negative behaviors.

What’s the silver lining?

It grows back!

Like anything, it takes time for the frontal lobes to recover but daily victories will make a big difference in the long run. The best part is that as our brain gets healthier, recovery gets a little easier. Think of it like a muscle that gets bigger and stronger the more you use it—the longer you stay away from porn, the easier it is to do so.

All it takes is practice.


source: http://fightthenewdrug.org/4-studies-that-prove-porn-addicted-brains-can-return-to-normal/

How Reading Affects Brain Function

Posted on Updated on

Found this article on Psychology Today…  thought it was interesting, and read through to the bottom for my comments:


Your Brain on Text

Word Recognition is Between Faces and Objects

The brains of literate people are profoundly different from those who do not learn to read. One intriguing phenomenon involves how reading comes to occupy its own space in the brain such that damage to this (in the left ventral occipital temporal region) selectively destroys the capacity to read (1, p. 260). Word recognition takes up residency in the region of the brain that sits between a face recognition area and an object recognition area.

In addition to such specialized changes that facilitate character, and word, recognition, there are many generalized changes in brain function. Literate people have a thicker corpus callosum, indicating that more information is crossing from one side of the brain to the other with the left hemisphere doing most of the language processing and the right hemisphere having an advantage in pattern recognition. Literate people have a broader pattern of brain activation in response to spoken words, suggesting that the verbal stimulus evokes a visual response. They also have longer verbal memories, presumably because words are processed more deeply, both by accessing different sensory modalities (visual as well as auditory) and also getting more attention in terms of their constituent sounds.

Literacy and Intelligence

Given these varied changes in brain function, it would be surprising if being able to read did not affect information processing capacity in a more generalized way.

Literate people ask more of their brains and get more in return. One finds that as countries become more economically developed, and as literacy increases, that IQ scores go up.

This is a complex relationship and there are many different factors that boost IQ scores as a country develops, including improved nutrition, better prenatal health, less low birth weight, smaller family size, and increased complexity of life in modern societies (2).

Given what we know about the impact of learning to read on the developing brain, it is plausible that at least some of the effect of rising intelligence (i. e., the Flynn effect) is attributable to literacy. One relevant piece of evidence is the strong correlation between IQ and years of education. The more time people spend in school, the more intelligent they become and this is not simply a self-selection effect where more intelligent children are more likely to complete high school and go to college (2).

Given that education has the potential to boost intelligence, it could be argued that a third-level education should be a civil right in developed countries that could afford it.

For the more hard-headed amongst us, it could be argued that inexpensive third-level education brings more than commensurate returns to nations willing to make this commitment. One thinks of Ireland that took this leap in the 1960’s and rapidly moved from being one of the poorest countries in Europe to being one of the wealthiest. This argument is bolstered by evidence on the health benefits of literacy.

Literacy and Health

Apart from the economic advantages of higher education, research has shown that general health, and even length of life, increase with years of education in this country (3). This effect is not easily explained in terms of smoking, alcohol consumption, or other risk factors for reduced life expectancy.

The most plausible explanation has to do with functioning of the brain itself, particularly given that senile dementia is often a harbinger of death.

One of the biggest causes of dementia is poor functioning of capillaries in the brain so that neurons do not receive the nutrients they require for processing information effectively. Well-educated people likely make greater demands on their brains throughout life so that circulation in the brain is maintained at a high level, much as physical exercise boosts cardiovascular health..

 

References

1 Henrich, J. (2015). The secret of our success: How culture is driving human evolution domesticating our species and making us smarter. Princeton, NJ: Princeton university Press.

2 Barber, N. (2005b). Educational and ecological correlates of IQ: A cross-national investigation. Intelligence, 33, 273-284.

3 Molla, M. T., Madans, J. H., and Wagener, D. K. ( 2004). Differentials in adult mortality and activity limitation by years of education in the united states at the end of the 1990s. Population and Development Review. 30, 625-646.

4 Greenfield, S. (2015). Mind change: How digital technologies are leaving their mark on our brains. New York: Random House.


Reading this article reminded me of how important it is to “busy” yourself with other things while you are recovering.  Anytime we “deny” ourselves the thing we are addicted to in recovery, we run the risk of creating a “hole” in our day-to-day routine… 

…unless

We replace bad choices with good choices; bad behaviors (those that lead to acting out) with good behaviors; bad beliefs with good beliefs; unsafe people with safe people… and on and on it goes.  Don’t JUST go without the bad things… REPLACE the bad things with GOOD things, so you never feel like you are “missing” out on anything.  

Staying with your husband… for what he did right…

Posted on

I hope you enjoy this article I found about forgiveness and deciding to stay in a marriage where there has been infidelity.  I hope it encourages you… to make the right choice.  


By: Davida Brown

article source: http://yesmarriagerocks.com/mrocks/blog/item/142-i-chose-to-stay-for-what-he-did-right

Romantic Comedy is my favorite genre.  Romance films make me feel  warm and tingly, as they pull on all my heart strings:  love, commitment, faith and unity.

I happened to watch “the Vow” a few days ago, and there was a scene in that movie that made my heart stop, a line that captured the essence of what I say day in and day out to my clients. If you’re not familiar with this movie, it’s about a young married couple, Leo and Paige, who are in a  car accident, resulting in Paige losing a chunk of her memory.  To Leo’s chagrin, she has no memory of him, their relationship or marriage.  The movie chronicles their journey back to each other.

During the movie, we learn that Paige and her parents were estranged for a number of years.  Paige can’t remember why and no one in her family will tell her what caused the fallout.  Eventually, Paige discovers that her father had an affair with one of her friends.  Paige is distraught and angry.  She confronts her mother, spewing contempt.  She doesn’t understand how she could stay after what he did.  Her mother responds, “I couldn’t leave. I made a choice. I chose to stay with him for all the things he’s done right; not leave for the one thing he did wrong. I chose to forgive him.”

Her words hit me like a mack truck.  YEEEESSSSSS, I screamed inwardly.  Marriage is a choice.  Choosing to stay married when your spouse violates your trust is a choice.  Choosing to acknowledge and appreciate all the things your spouse does right, despite the breach in trust, is a choice.  Forgiveness is a choice.

When the movie ended, I reflected on this scene for quite some time.  Years ago, I too made the choice to stay after the love of my life cheated on me.  I chose not to end our relationship because of his mistake.  I chose to forgive and trust again.

It wasn’t easy folks.  NOT AT ALL.  I was angry, hurt, disappointed, embarrassed and on and on.  How dare he step out on me?   We had a great relationship, or so I thought.  Why would he do this to me, to us?  I eventually had to come to grips with the fact that I would never understand why he cheated. We often think that if we know why he or she did it, it’ll help us get over it.  It doesn’t and in my opinion is a waste of time and energy.  Did I ask why he cheated? Of course.  But at the end of the day none of the reasons made any difference in how I felt. Cheating is a choice and my husband made that choice. It was inexcusable and no explanation would change that. So instead of trying to “understand” why he made that choice, I directed my energy to figuring out what I wanted.  Did I want my relationship? Yes or No?  I grappled with this question for months. I thought about all the good things about him, about us.  Was his mistake bigger than us?

Ultimately I decided that I wanted my relationship.  Making that decision was the biggest hurdle. Once I did, my actions from that day forward were in alignment with that choice. That meant I had to forgive and had to figure out a way to trust him again.  It didn’t happen overnight, but with a lot of effort, together, we found a way to rebuild the trust. While I certainly wish the infidelity never happened, I can honestly say that we are now in a great place, and I am so glad that I made the choice to give him another chance.

There are many of you reading this article that believe that infidelity is unforgivable, that once the trust is broken it simply can’t be restored, that if you choose to save your marriage you are weak or insecure.  If that’s you, you certainly are entitled to feel that way. Only you know what’s best for you and only you are equipped to make that decision.  But, if you are committed to trying to save your marriage, if your spouse is committed to trying to save your marriage, I want you to know that moving past the infidelity can be done.  We did it and so have many couples we coach. I want you to know that choosing to give your spouse and marriage another chance does not mean you are weak, insecure or lacking in self-respect.  Only you know the value of your marriage.  Only you know if your marriage is worth fighting for.  Take the time to consider everything before making a choice.  I did.  Take the time to pray for discernment and to listen for that voice inside you. And if you decide that you want your marriage (spouse must want it too), take the necessary steps together to implement that choice.


 

Watching Porn can Literally Change your Brain

Posted on

Another great article from the folks at Fight The New Drug, (www.fightthenewdrug.org), enjoy:


Science is finally catching up with the truth and its findings cannot be ignored: porn is harmful. Did you know that porn can mess with your head, actually rewiring the actual chemistry of your brain?

Dopamine is a neurotransmitter (a chemical that relays messages to and from the brain) and it is central to our brain’s understanding of rewards and pleasure. It is released when we experience pleasure (could be anything from eating a delicious meal or watching a comedy to shooting up heroin or watching porn) and of course it makes us feel good. Normally, this release of dopamine is a good thing; it helps our brains to recognize things that keep us happy and healthy, and it is one of the chemicals that allows us to form relationships and fall in love.

On the flip side, an oversupply of dopamine can be triggered when the pleasure stimulus is too frequent or too prolonged (as is the case with all addictions) or unnaturally stimulating. When it comes to porn, think about the hours and hours that can be spent clicking on new videos and shocking the mind with every type of sex imaginable and unimaginable. You better believe that this habit is unnaturally stimulating to the viewer and forces a prolonged rush of pleasure chemicals in their brain. And what happens is that this causes the brain becomes desensitized to dopamine, which is majorly bad news.

The reason why this is so harmful to the brain is because the end result of dopamine desensitization is that the brain no longer recognizes the pleasure signals. In order to adjust to this frequent and prolonged chemical release, the neuroconnectors in our brain have to lessen. When the brain is no longer recognizing the dopamine release (the reward) from its usual stimulus, it craves stronger and more frequent hits to feel something. This desire can become quite consuming, causing obsessive behavior and detracting focus from other important areas. Worst of all, it fuels habitual use, or even addiction, and makes the compulsion (that must have it now! feeling) stronger than ever.

Related: Psychologist – Teenage Brains, Porn, & Video Games Are A Bad Mix

Addiction of any kind—alcohol, drugs, porn, whatever it may be—is a huge cause of dopamine desensitization. And if that’s not enough, addiction or compulsively watching can also cause dysfunction in the stress circuits of your brain. Dysfunction in stress circuitry means that stress of any kind, be it physical (illness) or emotional (a fight with your boyfriend/girlfriend), makes the addict especially prone to seeking out that behavior to numb the pain. Relapsing, of course, means further exposing the brain to the addictive stimulus, which brings on more dysfunction in the stress circuits, which means more susceptibility to relapse… and we’re back at square one.

Your frontal cortex is the part of your brain that directs ­tasks like decision­ making, problem­ solving, planning, weighing pros and cons, focusing, and controlling impulses (you know, like the urge to yell at your boss or eat an entire chocolate cake). Decreases in the function of your brain’s reward circuits can cause activity in your frontal cortex to start plummeting too. Bam. Now your frontal cortex is operating below what it should, and your ability to perform all those important decision making functions will suffer. This can make things pretty difficult when you need to solve problems in your relationships, make decisions at work, focus on your schoolwork, or just make overall healthy life choices. Not good.

Related: The Serious Mental Costs of Watching Porn

And then, of course, the stress of realizing you have these problems is only going to wreak havoc on your already­ malfunctioning stress circuits. Your brain’s going to crave porn to forget about the stress and the resulting dopamine release won’t fully register because it’s desensitized…and on and on the cycle of the porn habit goes.

This ugly cycle drives the viewer further and further into a porn struggle, and farther away from a happy, healthy, and passionate life. So the next time you think watching porn is harmless, think again. It can mess with your head—literally.


article source: http://fightthenewdrug.org/watching-porn-can-mess-brain-v2/?utm_expid=19046507-1.HyXL65kBT7a6WMmRQWBZQw.1&utm_source=twitter&utm_medium=organic_social&utm_campaign=ftnd_general&utm_referrer=https%3A%2F%2Ft.co%2FfHisbel8E5