This Habit Will Help You Develop Self-ControlRemember in college when you took Introductory Psychology, and your professor told you about the study Pavlov did with dogs? Here’s a quick refresher: Pavlov was interested in the process of conditioning. He would ring a bell and then feed his dogs; he repeated this for a couple of years. After some time, he discovered that when he rang his bell, the dogs would salivate in anticipation. Herein lies the discovery of classical conditioning.

What happens at the neurological level in your brain when you become sexually aroused also involves classical conditioning. When a person achieves the peak of sexual arousal, they receive the most potent reward the brain can achieve – the release of endorphins. This naturally occurring chemical is 4 times stronger than morphine. What a reward!

The average person begins masturbating around the ages of 10-14 at an average rate of 2-7 times per week. In the first 20 years, they will have had from 2,000 to 7,000 of these reinforcing experiences. With this level of reinforcement and the reward our brains give us, it’s no wonder sexual addiction can be so easy to fall into!

There is a habit that can help decrease unwanted urges and impulses up to 80 percent in one month. It’s called the rubber band technique. Simply take a rubber band—that is thick enough, so it won’t break easily—and keep it on your wrist. Don’t even take it off for bedtime, showers, or times when you think you won’t need it. Whenever you catch yourself staring at someone lustfully, have the urge to masturbate, look at pornography, or misbehave, simply snap the band on the inside of your wrist. This will send a painful message to your brain that, where you used to have a pattern of “ring the bell, feed the dog,” it will now be more like “ring the bell, discipline the dog.”

This is a helpful tool in retraining your brain, and it will help you learn self-control. We read that self-control is a fruit of the spirit in Galatians 5:22-23, which says, “But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.”

Interrupting any lustful thoughts or urges with this habit will allow you to free yourself from a pattern created many years ago. Of course, in addition to this technique, it is essential that after you attend Every Man’s Battle, you also attend a Sustained Victory Group every week so you will have a place to connect with others and serve in a relationally healing way.

Jayson Graves – A New Life Network Counselor