Daily meditation can be very soothing for anyone struggling with stress. (Withdrawal from an addiction is stressful.) Research also shows that daily meditation helps the rational part of the brain, called the frontal cortex, stay in the driver's seat. The frontal cortex which is the seat of our willpower declines in activity and size (hypofrontality) during a serious addiction. Since meditators posses a larger frontal cortex, mediation appears to strengthen what addiction has weakened, even as it quiets the primitive parts of the brain that drive impulsive behavior. One forum member summarized it this way:
There is substantial information regarding consistent meditation and the pronounced shift to a more active frontal lobe region and a quieter limbic system. Just in case you're wondering, an energized frontal/pre-frontal lobe is responsible for joy, concentration, willpower- essentially much of what were chasing in our reboots. An overactive limbic system is associated with depression, anxiety, anger, rage, etc.
Here's a book by a NoFapper on meditation.
Just 11 hours of learning a meditation technique induces positive structural changes in brain connectivity by boosting efficiency in a part of the brain that helps a person regulate behavior in accordance with their goals, researchers report.
Meditation has been shown to increase dopamine levels by an average of 65%. Addictions cause desensitization or chronically low dopamine signaling. (For relevant research, see articles at foot of page. Also see Using meditation to reverse ED.)
Meditation increases white matter (myelin) in in the brain's anterior cingulate region. Deficits in activation of the anterior cingulate cortex have been associated with addiction, attention deficit disorder, dementia, depression, schizophrenia and many other disorders.
In only 8 weeks, regular meditation stimulated a major increase in gray matter density in the hippocampus, the part of the brain associated with self-awareness, compassion, and introspection. Participant-reported reductions in stress also were correlated with decreased gray-matter density in the amygdala, which is known to play an important role in anxiety and stress.
Forum members' thoughts on meditation:
- Age 35 - Overcoming porn addiction with the Zazen method
- 10 day meditation course cured my porn addiction
- Before I started the current run I was relapsing every week and I couldn't make it any longer. Using meditation helped me a lot. It gave me that bit of extra mental control that I needed to keep the thoughts under control.
I used to think everything is the way it is because everything is the way it is. I thought i didn't have any control over my life. Life just "is". But what i experienced in the last couple of month thanks to nofap, meditation and awareness is just indescribable. There is so much more to life than what science can explain. I actually see things rather than just letting images pass through my brain. I can hear things rather than just having voices and noises pass through my brain. Everything feels so alive and it's like the universe rotates around you :)
Everytime I do NoFap + meditation for 2 weeks+, I swear I get really good luck. I feel like the cosmic forces align with you or something when you do NoFap and meditation for a while. The first time I did in within the past year, I got 3 job offers after about 3 months of failed interviews and job pursuing. The 2nd time I did nofap, my boss moved me to a better position out of the blue. I also am better with people; I am more proactive than passive in conversations; my brain, wits, and overall articulation is better; and I feel like my brain is constantly [nourished].
- Always meditate BEFORE you masturbate. Take control of your weak moments instead of pretending you can eliminate them altogether. (Read details of method here.)
- Meditation helped me the most. Normally I couldn't abstain for a very long time, but with meditation it seems like I can go on forever. It doesn't even take that long to notice the benefits of it. I meditate 10 minutes a day and it has been a huge help for me. You will also notice a stronger sense of concentration.
- When I meditate in the morning, I find that for the rest of the day I notice any fantasy arising in my mind a lot earlier, and so it's easy to stop and not follow it. The longer I follow a fantasy thought for, the more involved I get and the harder it is to stop. Ultimately this results in relapse, so catching fantasy early is key. I just do a simple meditation:
- Sit still, with back straight, eyes closed.
- Couple of deep breaths and let go of physical tension as much as possible.
- Focus on the breath, either the sensation at nose/mouth, or rise and fall of the chest.
- When the mind wanders, bring it back to the breath.
- Continue for about 10 minutes.
Of course my mind wanders quickly and easily many, many times during the 10 minutes. But that's not a problem, it's the act of bring attention back to the breath that helps. I don't recommend this practice when actually having urges though. I tried once, and the distraction was too great. All I did was create more space for the urges to grow. It's more of a preparation practice to increase mental awareness.
- I heard one spiritual master saying that you should not think about quitting your addiction, instead you should learn how to meditate. The more you meditate the stronger your mind becomes and the weaker your addiction gets. So I have increased my meditation time since it calms the mind and the thoughts about porn have reduced drastically.
- Meditation has been key in my recovery. I could list a lot of other things which have helped, but that has been the most helpful for me in terms of self acceptance and self discipline.
- I've gotten on a regular meditation "regime" and introduced some breathing techniques and basic yoga practises also to my daily practise. It has lifted my frequency tenfold already, and I can feel my attachments getting weaker and some even disappearing. Some things that caused me lot of anxiety and problems in the past I seem to be quite indifferent to now. Indifference has come - I'm not shaken by emotions the way I was before.
- iPhone app - "Meditation Without Borders," a 4-week guided course. I find it excellent.
- I've been meditating consistently for 13 months now. I have cut back on MO dramatically (90% less?). Sometimes I go a couple of months and don't realize it. I scarcely look at porn either. I am POSITIVE this is due to my meditating (twice a day for about 15 minutes each).
- When I meditate consistently, the part of my brain that knows that I have to leave porn behind (the pre-frontal cortex) has much more influence. And when I don’t meditate regularly, the part of my mind that comes up with rationalizations to use PMO as way to deal with boredom and stress has more sway. This may be an oversimplification but it seems that the battle to overcome PMO is literally a battle between the rational, planning functions in the pre-frontal cortex and the more emotional, reactive parts of the brain. Meditation is probably the best tool for putting the pre-frontal cortex in the driver’s seat.
- The more you think about the journey and the prospect of failure, stress builds up and can result in a relapse. Meditation allows me to carry on the journey without PMO on the mind so much. It allows me to get what needs to be done, done. For people who have sharpened their teeth with previous attempts but are not quite sure of how to get over the hump long term, meditation could be the missing link.
Here are some meditations suggested by site members. You will see the greater results from daily use.
Suggested apps from this great article on addiction and stress:
• Respire-1 CD paces coherent breathing to five breaths per minute (www.coherence.com)
• Computer games -- HeartMath (www. HeartMath.com) and Journey to the Wild Divine (www.wilddivine.com/servlet/-strse-72/The-Passage-OEM/Detail)
• Resperate devices can slow breathing to three breaths per minute (www.resperate.com)
Mindfulness meditation to help with porn addiction recovery
This is a recorded meditation based on the book The Relaxation Response. Listen online.
- Forum member: I practice mindfulness meditation, and I find it very helpful. It is amazing how such a simple thing can be so powerful.
Hindu meditation techniques
This site is one of the best open-source meditation resources on the internet. It offers many well-rounded techniques.
Tibetan Mindfulness Meditation
How to do mindfulness meditation in the Tibetan Buddhist tradition.
“Concentrate the energy on the Hara, the point two inches below the navel. That is the center from where one enters life and that is the center from where one dies and goes out of life. So that is the contact center between the body and the soul. If you feel a sort of wavering left and right and you don’t know where your center is, that simply shows that you are no longer in contact with your Hara, so you have to create that contact.”
When: In the night, when you go to sleep/first thing in the morning.
Duration: 10-5 minutes.
Step 1: Locate the Hara
“Lie down on the bed and put both your hands two inches below the navel and press a little.
Step 2: Take a Deep Breath!
“Start breathing, deep breathing. You will feel that center coming up and down with the breathing. Feel your whole energy there as if you are shrinking and shrinking and shrinking and you are just existing there as a small center, very concentrated energy.
Step 3: Center While U Sleep!
“Fall asleep doing it — that will be helpful. Then the whole night that centering persists. Again and again the unconscious goes and centers there. So the whole night without your knowing, you will be coming in many ways in deep contact with the center.
Step 4: Reconnect with the Hara
“In the morning, the moment that you feel that sleep has gone, don’t open your eyes first. Again put your hands there, push a little, start breathing; again feel the Hara. Do this for 10-5 minutes and then get up.
“Do this every night, every morning. Within three months you will start feeling centered.
“It is very essential to have a centering otherwise one feels fragmentary; then one is not together. One is just like a jigsaw — all fragments and not a gestalt, not a whole. It is a bad shape, because without a center a man can drag but cannot love. Without a center you can go on doing routine things in your life, but you can never be creative. You will live the minimum. The maximum will not be possible for you. Only by centering does one live at the maximum, at the zenith, at the peak, at the climax, and that is the only living, a real life.
“For example, there will be less thinking because energy will not move to the head, it will go to the Hara. The more you think of the Hara, the more you concentrate there, the more you will find a discipline arising in you. That comes naturally, it has not to be forced.
“The more you are aware of the Hara, the less you will become afraid of life and death — because that is the center of life and death. Once you become attuned to the Hara center, you can live courageously. Courage arises out of it: less thinking, more silence, less uncontrolled moments, natural discipline, courage and rootedness, a groundedness.”
Simple Recorded Guided Meditations
You can listen to these guided meditations online. These come from Thich Nhat Hanh's tradition.
This meditation comes from the Hindu tradition. Instructions.
The Beginners Guide to Meditation
This book by Joan Borysenko made getting started easy and fun (lighthearted). I was able to download this two-hour audiobook from my public library's account on Overdrive.
Tibetan Breathing Meditation
Start by learning the Wave Breath: Inhale filling your belly. Let the filling of your belly rock your pelvis forward (pubis towards knees and floor). When your belly is full, keep inhaling to expand your chest. Your belly will start to flatten and pelvis rise (pubis up and towards your belly button). On the exhale, the caving of your belly starts to drive the air out. Finish with a complete collapse of your chest.
Sometimes the breath will be long and slow and quicker at other times. True also with the pelvic/spine movement, sometimes the movement will be big and sometimes small. I like to breathe in through my nose and out through my mouth. To preserve the stillness, I leave my mouth relaxed open, and raise my tongue to the roof of my mouth to inhale through my nose. Then let it drop for the exhale.
Oh Lord, open my heart at the time of my death.
Lie on your back, a pillow under your knees if needed. A soft surface (bed) allows for more pelvic movement. Your hands rest on your chest, palms down, finger tips almost touching as they lie on your sternum (breast bone).
Start with the deepest, healing, compassionate deity of your heart. Call upon the deity as you inhale and fill your belly, say "Oh ___" and imagine the light and love of that deity filling you. As the inhalation spreads to expand your chest; note how your fingers are spreading apart, as if your rib cage was opening to expose your heart. Say, "Open my heart."
Now (from my reading Lama Yeshe "Introduction to Tantra: The Transformation of Desire", Chapter 10): Your belly is hollow, your chest full. Exhale letting everything collapse. Every muscle relaxing into stillness. Your fingers come back together as your chest falls. Every part of your body becomes still. Say, "at the time of my death." At this point there is no movement, complete stillness. Stay in this dead space for as long as comfortable. This is your death. Nothing is left. Nothing has value or importance.
Start the cycle over before you become distressed from lack of oxygen. Fill yourself with new life and joy with your inbreath.
OM Meditation Recording
You can also listen to the whole track on Rhapsody for free, but it's only .99 to download it, if you find it helps. Rhapsody - Ultimate Om