Journal - Seeking understanding


#1

Hello, if you are reading this. I would like to start becoming more dedicated to this idea of nosurf. I have, for the past few years, been aware of nosurf and have taken some steps to put me on this path. My biggest successes have involved choosing living situations where surfing is simply not an option. I have also delayed in getting a smartphone.

However, when I do have access to the internet, I tend to use it irresponsibly. And currently, I’m transitioning into a situation again where I will have regular access. I’m already seeing the same problems come up.

I have at some points in the past been able to simply avoid surfing altogether, despite having access. I found if I could get past the initial compulsions, I didn’t really miss it and didn’t feel so tempted. But I would gradually start surfing again after a few weeks and soon be back to my normal habits.

I find myself getting intensely interested in the zeitgeist, culture wars, political ideologies, conspiracies, and I worry about having to give that up. There’s a certain amount of that which can only be found on the internet. But also, I can sense that prolonged use of the internet makes me less focused, more anxious, more biased, more impulsive. These aspects seem to be opposed to a truer understanding of the situation. So, if I’m seeking some understanding of this reality we’re in, I don’t think it will be found exclusively online. If anything, it will be found in the mundane activities of day to day life, undisturbed by an obsession with screens.

I’ve installed the Freedom app on my desktop, and that has seemed to help. I also want to use reading as a way to fulfill my interests rather than the internet. We’ll see how it goes!


#2

Things are going ok so far since I last posted. Initially I was able to cut down my time spent online significantly, but now ten days later I’m starting to go back in the other direction.

A few points:

-When I go to the gym in the morning I have an easier time staying offline later in the day.

-When I use the internet in the evening, I stay up later and I wake up later, leaving me less time to go to the gym.

-One of my patterns is to use the internet in the morning before work, especially if I don’t have anything planned for me to do.

So, I think a big part of why I get off track is going to bed late and getting less sleep. And if I don’t have anything to occupy myself in the morning (reading, gym, etc.) I tend to use the internet. When I use the internet in the morning, I lose track of time more often and usually end up having to rush to work. Solutions to this could include preparing for the next day the night before, so journaling, scheduling, setting out gym and work clothes.

These are small actions, but they seem to keep me on track. What I’m not sure of is why I get off track in the first place. It’s as if when something external adjusts my schedule, I don’t anticipate and counteract that, and that leads to the downward spiral. So, if I can spend some time journaling every night, make that more consistent, maybe that will help recognize this sooner.

One victory, I’ve avoided one particular website that I’ve identified as causing me issues. I find it stimulating because I’m exposed to information there that is concerned with the present state of the world and there’s a lack of apparent censorship. But I’ve found that it often leads me to PMO, and also that it’s likely not a psychologically healthy space. It’s basically reactionary, and more concerned with being contrarian than fair. It’s a good place to become possessed, so I’ve stopped. And in general, I feel more and more lately that my search for information has not been based on a search for wisdom, but a kind of urgency. There is a lot out there trying to convince people, co-opting minds for ideology, regardless of whether it’s a conscious agenda or not.

I’ve also been walking more, I forgot how much I enjoy it.


#3

Things are going relatively well. I’ve continued to abstain from the problem website (4chan), and have been doing well avoiding PMO, with a few slip ups.

I’ve been watching Universal Man youtube channel quite a bit and I feel like I’m finally to the point where I can quit PMO for good. I feel like I’m moving in the right direction.

However, I’m still using the internet way too much. It takes up most of my free time at home and its taking time away from other things that I want to be spending time on. A lot of the information I gather online does not seem that detrimental. I’m reading a lot of blogs, or watching positive youtube videos for the most part. Occasionally I’ll get down a youtube hole watching useless things. Podcasts I’ve noticed can also be a problem for me.

Something that really gives me hope though is neuroplasticity. I think it’s a very liberating idea that we can rewire how our brains operate. When I look back on how much I used to PMO, and how seldom I do now, it’s clear how much progress I’ve made. The internet continues to be a problem, but I’ve experienced periods of more intelligent use, so I know that it’s possible.

One thing I’ve been doing is avoiding talk radio, or podcasts, while driving. If I need some sort of stimulation, then I listen to music. While podcasts can be useful, I think they help prime my brain for more stimulation, it keeps me on the stimulation train. So, if I’m listening to podcast during times that could be used for silence, or music, I think I’m more likely to continue seeking out that stimulation at home on the internet.

I’m also interested in Kaizen. I think if I want to overcome this habit, Kaizen would generally be the way to go. One thing that would help, simply avoid using the internet in the bedroom. I sometimes take the tablet with me to bed so I can listen to audio while falling asleep. But this makes the internet so much easier to use in the morning. There’s less barrier to entry there if I wake up next to the tablet. I need, instead, to come up with ways that can create some space between me and the internet. And maybe I can continue to develop that space of absence, letting it grow, rather than trying to drastically carve out large chunks of time.


#4

A few updates on the past week.

I’ve refrained from bringing the tablet to bed. It’s such a small change that it’s been practically effortless, but I now realize how big of an impact it can really have. The past few days I’ve also been journaling before bed in the evening and journaling in the morning. This so far has been great. It gets my mind focused on the right things and it’s also time that I would normally be on the internet.

A few weeks ago I had the idea that I would try to avoid the internet before noon, but that never seemed to work out. But now that I’ve been journaling I find myself more likely to read during the morning as well. This is all time that I’m not spending on the internet, without really even trying to avoid it. Instead I’m focusing on the things I want to do, and that seems to take care of much of the problem. This seems to be the right approach for me.

However, I’ve had a few slip ups earlier this week. Being inside and home a lot is difficult at times. I haven’t been working so much due to the holidays, but that will hopefully change in the coming weeks. I had to kind of kick my butt into gear the last few days and I’m feeling a lot better for it. I think the combination of rich foods, lots of free time, being inside a lot, not a lot of exercise really got to me, made me pretty lazy. I think the journaling will help with this as well, because it allows me to be a little more objective about the situation and see what triggers are cropping up on the horizon.


#5

If you’re interested in plasticity I recommend checking out The Brain That Changes Itself by Norman Doidge as well as Mindset by Carol Dweck.

Since you’re also trying to quit PMO I’d recommend Your Brain On Porn by Gary Wilson.


#6

@Nik Thank you for the recommendations. In particular Mindset, I haven’t heard of that book.

Haven’t updated in a while.

New year is generally going good. I joined a private forum/group that focuses on quitting PMO, and that has been extremely helpful. I am hoping 2019 is the year that I kick that stuff to the curb. I’ve also been doing well building my habits. I’m still journaling regularly, going to the gym, walking, etc.

Quitting PMO has been my main priority at the moment, so NoSurf has been kind of been put on hold. Still, I’m doing pretty well at not binging on the internet. I’m still using more than I’d like to, but I’m not in a big hurry to cut it all out at once. I’ve been back on the podcast train the past week, but they don’t seem too problematic yet. Still not listening to talk radio which is good. Still not visiting 4chan (thank goodness, lol).

Has anyone had any luck placing signs as reminders near their devices? Or using a small notebook to log and track usage?