If you’ve been here for a while, you’ve heard me talk a lot about processing urges. When we have these urges to view pornography, what we don’t want to do is push them away or try to willpower through them. We want to process them. Processing your urges will help you train your brain to stop wanting porn.
Urges cannot make you do anything. They are not dangerous, and they are not something to be avoided. In fact, it’s the opposite. They need to be felt and experienced so that they can move through your body and pass. It’s simple to do but that doesn’t mean it’s easy.
Join me this week as I’m sharing what it means to process an urge and a three-step process that will help you process your urges whenever you feel them come up. You can use what I’m teaching you today with any emotion in your life, so tune in to find out exactly how to do it and how this can help you give up pornography for good.
You are listening to the Overcome Pornography for Good podcast episode 66, How Do I Process An Urge?
Welcome to the Overcome Pornography for Good podcast, the show that will teach you how to stop viewing pornography and never go back to it. If you want to learn how to train your brain out of a pornography habit, completely shame-free, then this is the show for you. I’m your host Sara Brewer, a certified life and faith-based coach.
Hey, you guys, welcome to the podcast episode this week. I am so glad you’re here. I’m so excited to jump into this content today, I think it’s going to be super helpful and useful for you.
So before we do that though, let me celebrate a win. Let me celebrate some wins for you guys. It’s so important that we make this a habit of celebrating ourselves and celebrating our wins, no matter how small they feel or how large they feel. If you don’t take the time to do this you’re not going to be able to maintain momentum. It’s one of the most powerful things you can do for yourself, is celebrate your wins no matter how small they are.
Seriously, sometimes your brain is going to tell you, “No, I shouldn’t be celebrating wins, I’m not good enough yet to celebrate.” No, even the smallest thing you deserve to celebrate. And so I want to celebrate a client who recently said, and I heard this from Tina, Tina told me about this in our weekly meeting. Every week I meet with Tina and Kat, and we do some training, and we talk about our clients and see how we can best help them and just an awesome little meeting with them that I have each week.
And this week she told me, she said one of my clients had a great win, they said this changed my life more than my mission. My mission taught me to love others, and this taught me to love myself. And if you guys follow me on Instagram, you saw that I posted that because it took my breath away. It made me tear up and it’s such a beautiful way of putting it and simply putting what this process is.
This process is revolutionary, it will completely change your life and it’s because you learn how to love yourself. And I know that sounds so simple and so simplified, but really at the root of all of it, of all the work we do, it’s really loving yourself. You love yourself into quitting porn, you don’t hate yourself into quitting porn.
Can you feel how powerful that is? And love isn’t justification. Sometimes we think love is justification and if I love myself then I’m just going to let myself do whatever I want. No, it’s the opposite. Love isn’t justification, but it’s not shaming yourself, it’s being patient, and loving, and kind with yourself. And it’s showing up for yourself and allowing yourself to create this beautiful life that you really want which isn’t full of unwanted porn use.
What I wrote in this Instagram post too is just that love is productive, and love creates change. So this client who experienced massive transformations, able to overcome pornography for good, doesn’t struggle with it anymore, really seeing huge life changes. What he’s saying that created that is learning how to love himself. And that’s all this work he did in coaching and just so proud, so happy, so excited.
And so even if you’re win that you’re celebrating this week, I want everyone to take a second here on the podcast, use this as an opportunity, what is my win that I’m going to celebrate this week? It could be I processed an urge. We’re going to talk about that, what that means for those of you who don’t really know. I didn’t binge.
Maybe I signed up for the program and I really committed. Or just simply like I’m loving myself more and I’m having more patience, and kindness, and love for myself more and I’m starting to see how it’s making a difference. That can be your only win and that’s huge, huge, huge.
And before we dive into the content, if you’re not following me on Instagram and if you’re not on my email list I encourage you to get there, to get on it, to come hear from me more. I send out a lot of goodies and really revamping everything that I’m doing just to serve you more. And so if quitting porn is your priority, is something you want to do, get on my email list, start following me on social media. I promise to put useful content there for you.
And let’s dive into the content today in today’s podcast episode. So how do I process an urge? You all have heard me talk about processing urges if you’ve been here for a while. If you haven’t, if this is your first episode, welcome, you’re going to learn a really valuable skill here.
And if you’re kind of new to the podcast I would also recommend you start with the first three episodes and then you also listen to the episode titled The Number One Key Question to Quitting Porn, I don’t remember exactly what number that is, but you can find it if you Google it. And I would recommend you listen to the four episodes, the pillars for quitting porn. So the title is Pillar One, Pillar Two, Pillar Three, and Pillar Four. Those are great places for you to start if you’re a little bit new.
But how do I process an urge? So you've heard me talk about processing urges and why it's so important. So a little background, when we have these urges and these desires to view pornography, what we don't want to do is willpower through them. We don't want to push them away. We don't want to try to say to ourselves, “No, we're not going to feel this, we're not going to feel this,” and try to push it away and run away from it. That doesn't work.
What that does is it's like holding a beach ball underwater. When we hold the beach ball underwater, what does it do? It pops up, right? And those of you who have used willpower, probably all of you because you weren't taught any other way most likely, you know that that's very true, right? You can willpower for a little while, even sometimes a couple of weeks or a couple months, sometimes just a couple minutes or a couple hours. You can willpower for a minute and then what? It just pops up and explodes and you react, and you give in to all those urges, right?
So we don't want to use willpower. Instead, we want to use mindfulness and use this term that I use that you've heard me say on the podcast, we want to process our urges. Instead of pushing our urges away, we want to process them. Really what this is, is it's using mindfulness to quit porn instead of using willpower. So if you look at all of the research around porn and quitting porn, all the research and the evidence based research says that mindfulness is the most effective way to quit viewing pornography.
So listen, if you've tried addiction recovery programs and they haven't worked, or other programs that don't focus on mindfulness, it's not your fault that it hasn't worked and that's not evidence that you're not going to be able to quit porn. All that is is evidence that you need a new solution, that you need to learn a new skill, that you need to try mindfulness. And that's what all the evidence and all the research shows.
And I will do an episode, I just had a conversation with a BYU researcher, and she researches specifically around sex and pornography. And I just had a conversation with her and we're going to get her on the podcast sometime within the next couple of months, hopefully. We're going to really dive into all of that research. But for now just know that research shows mindfulness is the best way to quit porn.
And so when I say processing urges, that's just a term I use for a specific way that we’ll use mindfulness to handle these urges instead. So and I know some of you are like, “Okay, well, what does that mean processing an urge? Please explain it to me.” And I have dived into this concept in quite a few episodes.
Let's see, specifically there's one called Resist, React, and Allow. There's one called Stop Fearing Urges. Those are two that come to mind that you can go and listen to for more after this episode. But typically, I describe processing an urge in these three steps, you stop, drop, and breathe. And stay with me, I'm going to explain this and then we're going to go into an exercise to actually do it together.
So stop, drop, and breathe. You, one, stop and notice and you become mindful that you're experiencing an urge. And you say to yourself, “Oh, I'm feeling an urge.” And we stop and we just let it be there. Now, don't underestimate how big of a step this is. Because a lot of people this is really difficult.
A lot of my clients when they first come into program and they're first learning these things, you'll hear them say, “I was just going about my day and then all of a sudden I found myself looking at porn.” Or I was on my phone and all of a sudden I found myself looking at porn. And so learning to stop yourself before you go straight to porn is a skill that you can practice and learn and get better at.
Stopping, saying to yourself, “I'm feeling an urge,” becoming more mindful of what you're feeling, become more mindful of your thoughts so that you can learn to pause that. Okay, so that's step number one, stop. Number two is drop. Drop into your body, experience what's happening in your body, I'm going to take you through an exercise to do this. And number three, breathe.
Breathe into it, relax our shoulders. Let yourself be there with that experience in your body. And you stop, drop, and breathe as long as you need to for the urge to go away. Okay? And one quick note on that, the purpose of stop, dropping, and breathing isn't necessarily to make the urge go away. So it's kind of contradictory because the purpose isn't to make it go away, but as you do it, it will go away.
So instead, the purpose is to get really good at feeling an urge so that you don't need to make it go away by viewing porn. Instead, we get so good and so comfortable with this feeling that we don't have to react to it, we don't have to make it go away. And I know some of you are like, “What? How do you do that?” But I promise, the only reason you're thinking that is because you only know what an urge feels like when you're using willpower. You can't do that when you're feeling willpower. That's like, so difficult, and so miserable.
But when you process it, when you stop, drop, and breathe into it, you can learn to sit with it without reacting to it. And as you do that, the urge will start to go away. So like I said, some of you hear me talk about it and you're like, “Wait, I don't get it. Wait, can you explain it again?” And how I typically describe it is it's kind of like me sitting here and explaining to you how to snowboard over a microphone.
And I say, “Okay, you have to bend your knees, and then you put your left foot forward or your right foot forward, whatever is your most dominant foot. And you put pressure on your back foot. And then you want to lift your heels up if you're going down. And maybe you want to go toe side...” Where I'm trying to explain it to you through a podcast and you're like, “Okay, wait, I think I get it. But can you explain it again?”
And really, what you need in order to fully understand this, is you need to go and do it. You need to go down the mountain on the snowboard and you need to practice. And then you're like, “Oh, I see what you mean when you say bend your knees. Oh, I see what you mean when you say lean back and pull your heels up. I see what you mean by this.” And it takes going down the hill a couple of times to really get it.
It's the same with processing urges. Those of you who have done it, totally understand what I mean by stop, drop, and breathe and you don't get confused by it. You're like, that makes sense. And then if there are any hiccups or anything you're struggling with, right, we can work through those. But you have a really good understanding of what I'm talking about when I'm talking to you.
Those of you who haven't really done it or aren't sure if you're doing it right, that’s when you're like, “Wait, I don't get it.” So what I want to do is I want to practice with you. I want to practice together with you processing a feeling, processing an emotion right now. This is us getting on our snowboards and going down the mountain together for the first time. Okay?
So you can do this while you're driving if you'd like, just don't close your eyes when I tell you to close your eyes. Or if you want to you can find a quiet place to do this alone later today. Or you can listen to me go through it and then you can come back to it and do it again.
But I'm going to take you through a little exercise, a little mindful exercise, almost like a guided meditation type thing to learn how to process and see what you're feeling and go through the steps of stop, dropping, and breathing, okay? So let's go, let's do it.
First, I want you to ground yourself. What that means is sit up straight, notice your feet on the floor. Get into a comfortable position. It can be on a chair, that can be on the ground, and sit up straight and take a deep breath in and out. And close your eyes. Now I want you to ask yourself, what emotion am I noticing in my body? You might notice a lot of them and just choose one.
Maybe it's been a little bit of a stressful day and so you notice stress. Maybe something happened today and you're feeling shame and you notice shame. Maybe you notice boredom. Maybe you notice joy. Maybe you're feeling really good and the emotion you're noticing is content. Maybe you're noticing anxiety, or depression, it doesn't matter. Just stop and notice, what emotion is in my body right now? And say it to yourself, I am feeling, fill in the blank.
Now I want you to pay attention to your body. What sensation are you feeling in your body? Do you notice this emotion in your chest? Or in your gut? Or in your shoulders? In your back? In your neck? Where in your body do you notice this emotion? Find it and then we're going to breathe into it.
And let yourself picture that emotion in this place in your body. So for example, it could be I'm feeling anxious, and I notice it in my chest. And breathe into it. If you notice yourself clenching up, it's okay, try to relax. If you notice your mind wandering, that's okay, just bring it back. Keep bringing it back and focusing on that emotion and on that sensation in your body.
Now we're going to keep diving into this emotion, but what you might notice is you might notice it starts to loosen up its grip, it starts to go away. Or you might notice it gets stronger. It doesn't matter, just notice what it's doing. Our purpose now is to get really familiar with this feeling and really intimate with this sensation in our bodies just to understand it and understand what it feels like.
So what else do you notice about this feeling? Do you notice tightness or looseness? Do you notice heaviness or lightness? Is it fast? Is it slow? Is it strong? Is it light? How would you describe this emotion? And breathe into it. Do you notice it going anywhere else? Do you notice it dropping down? Do you notice it coming up? Do you notice it becoming stronger or less strong? Has it moved anywhere? Is it a different emotion?
What do you notice going on in your body? And then you can continue to ask yourself questions like, what does this look like? If I were to give this a color, what color would I give it? What does it feel like now? Is it still tight? Is it still strong? Is it still heavy? And keep breathing into it.
And one last time, do you notice anything about this feeling? Do you notice if it's moved? Is there anything that it wants to tell you? And now we'll open our eyes and talk about it.
So do you have a better understanding of what I mean by drop into your body? Stop, drop, and breathe, as you do this you notice, and we did this with whatever emotion that you were feeling today, but you can do this with specific urges when you feel an urge. Or you can do this with emotions like anxiety, depression, fear, boredom, joy. You can do this with all your emotions, right?
But this is how you deal with urges, this how you process an urge. You'll just stop and notice the urge and drop and notice the sensations in your body with the urge, okay? What you'll notice is that this urge, all it is is a slight discomfort in your body.
Seriously, you guys, that's all it is. It's a slight discomfort. It feels restless, it feels heavy, it might feel shaky. It might feel really important, but as you stop, drop, and breathe into it, you see that it really doesn't have any power over you. It's a discomfort, it's an uncomfortable feeling that we can experience in our bodies and just sit with, right?
Even though as we went through that exercise, it probably doesn't feel great to have a lot of tightness and heaviness or whatever it is that feeling was, right? But it also wasn't dangerous, and it also wasn't hurting you. And the longer you do it, the better you get at it, you realize it's not that bad, right?
Urges cannot make you do anything. They are not dangerous and they're not something that needs to be avoided. In fact, it's the opposite. Urges need to be felt and experienced so that they can move through your body and pass. Urges need to be experienced so you can train your brain to stop wanting porn. And it's simple to do, but that doesn't necessarily mean it's easy.
So I hope that was helpful, and practice it this week. And if you really want to dive into it, come and join us in Overcome Pornography For Good. Learning mindfulness is a muscle, and it takes practice, just like learning how to snowboard, you're not a pro at the first time you go down the mountain, right? It's a skill you can practice and get better at. And it's the backbone of the program.
There's so much in there that will teach you how to become more mindful of your emotions, so you stop running away to porn, and how to handle all those urges mindfully and how to process them. And we go through an exercise of processing 100 of them. You know, we're not just learning it, we're really applying it. That's what the container of the program is for.
Plus, there's tons of access to me, so I can help you with it, I can coach you, answer specific questions every week. And all the access to the lifetime Ask A Coach Board where you can go in and type a question and get an answer within just a day or so as often as you'd like. There's so much help, I’d love to have you there and apply this a little bit more deeply.
Okay, you guys have a great week. We'll talk to you next week. Bye bye.
I want to invite you to come and listen to my free training called How to Quit Viewing Pornography Even if You've Tried in the Past. If you like the podcast, you will love this free training. We talk about, number one, how to not rely on willpower or phone filters so that you can actually stop wanting pornography.
Number two, how to guarantee that you won't fail no matter how many times you've tried in the past. And number three, how to feel good about yourself while becoming someone who doesn't struggle with pornography. You can access this training at sarabrewer.com/masterclass.