10 Tips To Learn To Control Impulses

Tips to learn to control impulses

There are many times that we do something that we later regret. Sometimes, our desires dominate us and we behave impulsively, without thinking about the consequences.

There are all kinds of impulses, both good and bad, but behind them is the difficulty of controlling how we behave. Saying something bad to your partner, eating too many sweets or buying clothes and spending your savings are examples of impulsive behaviors.

Although varied, all of them bring with them consequences that can harm us, it is therefore important to follow a series of tips to learn to control impulses Let’s look at a few of them.

Tips to learn to control impulses

Not everyone behaves with the same degree of impulsivity. Some show problems when relating to others, while others do not control what they say or what they do. Telling your boss that you can’t stand him at all is not the same as punching him in the nose, although both, of course, are examples of behavior that are not at all appropriate.

There are several ways in which we can reduce the times we behave impulsively, allowing us to take control of our own behavior and gain a greater degree of self-control.

1. Identify how and when they occur

The vast majority of impulsive behavior has a reason behind it, whether associated with a psychological disorder or more contextual factors

To the extent possible, identifying what is behind the appearance of impulsive behavior and when it occurs is a key factor in learning how to manage it. For example, if we are fighting the urge to have a sweet between meals, we can ask ourselves several questions such as why do I want to snack? Has the food filled me up enough? What made me want to drink chocolate?

So, answering these questions we can understand in greater depth why the impulse occurs and, in turn, opt for alternative behaviors that prevent it from being carried out.

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2. Review emotions

When we are having an impulse, how do we feel? This question is very important, especially looking at the before, during and after carrying out the much feared and worrying behavior.

It is possible that our mood is a causal factor in the appearance of the behavior. We must meditate on how we felt before deciding to carry it out.

While carrying out the impulse we may feel satisfied, but This satisfaction will last very little, because after carrying out the behavior, repentance will come and the ‘why did I do it?’

Keeping this in mind while you are about to do the impulsive behavior may mean avoiding it altogether.

3. Find a distraction

The world is full of all kinds of stimuli, which can help us avoid carrying out a behavior that we do not want to do rationally but our body asks us to do it.

For example, we just talked to our partner on the cell phone and he told us that last night he didn’t like how we did the dishes, something he always tells us but we don’t understand why he thinks they aren’t clean enough.

In this situation, we could respond impulsively with ‘well, from now on you clean them’ or ‘you’re too picky’, something that is clear is not going to help calm things down.

Instead of answering, it is better to wait by watching television, reading a book or painting a picture. They are activities that help you isolate yourself from the world, to disconnect for a while.

Later, when you are calmer, you can think more rationally and ask your partner to explain why we are doing things wrong.

4. Think about the immediate future

One of the ideas most shared by psychologists, especially from Mindfulness, is the idea of live the here and now, the present moment

However, a good way to prevent the impulse from occurring is to think about how we are going to feel immediately after having done it, and also what changes in both the environment and our social environment we are going to cause.

We can try to think coldly about the consequences of being too sincere, breaking an object or eating a snack that we shouldn’t, to name a few examples.

5. Count to ten

Taking a deep breath and counting to ten, although simple and cheap, is very effective. It allows us to reflect with a certain degree of depth on why we wanted to do what we wanted to do

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The ten seconds are just a suggestion. Depending on our degree of impulsivity, we may need more time to calm our impulsivity.

6. Meditation and yoga

Any practice in which a deep reflection of our psychological state is carried out contributes not only to better control and emotional adjustment, but, as a beneficial side effect, also allows us to better control our impulses.

You can do everything and in every possible way, although one of the most well-known and most effectively studied meditations is mindfulness.

Yoga also works given that as a physical activity it not only offers benefits on a physical level, but also mentally, allowing us to have a calmer and more rational vision of our momentary desires.

7. Think about alternatives

Whether due to boredom or because we are immersed in enormous anger, impulses happen. A good way to avoid carrying out the feared behavior, such as eating that candy bar we have saved for the weekend or punching someone who has just said something unpleasant to us, is by carrying out a behavior that replaces it.

It is obvious that since there are so many different types of impulses, there will, in turn, be many ways to replace them, but whatever it is has to fulfill the function of preventing the unwanted behavior from being carried out.

For example, to avoid snacking on chocolate when it’s not there, you can make the healthy decision to drink a glass of water and, if it doesn’t fill you up enough, drink another until it’s full.

As for punching, a less harmful option For other people it is to pick up a cushion and let that object be the victim of the blow.

8. Identify positive impulses

In the same way that there are negative impulses, there are others that help us on a daily basis. Although it is preferable to think about things before doing them, meditating in depth on absolutely everything cannot be considered a very adaptive behavior, since it can cause us to waste very valuable time.

Examples of impulsive behaviors that can be positive would be telling a friend that the clothes they are wearing are horrible and thus prevent them from making a fool of themselves, buying all the discounted vegetables at the supermarket…

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Once these positive impulses are identified, they can contribute significantly to changing the person’s behavior, especially if these behaviors that imply some benefit are prioritized instead of carrying out those impulses considered harmful

Little by little, the body and mind will enter a state of satisfaction when seeing that we are indeed seeing our desires satisfied, and on top of that they are good ones.

9. Learn to tolerate frustration

Impulses arise from desires, from desires to want to express an opinion, want to do something or interact in a way that is socially frowned upon but that can bring us some relief in the short term.

Therefore, Trying to prevent these impulses from occurring generates frustration, which does not facilitate self-control since human beings, by nature, try to satisfy their desires as soon as possible.

If you can accept this discomfort and try to live with it, little by little you will train your body and mind to withstand the impulse and there will come a time when it will practically not happen at all.

10. Learn from our mistakes

The human being is the only animal that is capable of tripping over the same stone twice, and impulses, of any kind, are a clear example of this.

On more than one occasion we have said to ourselves ‘I have fallen again’, ‘I don’t know how to control myself’ and phrases like that. To err is human, but not learning from our mistakes is missing a very good opportunity to correct them.

A good method to manage these impulses is have a notebook or calendar in which you write down when the impulse you are trying to avoid occurred and the cause associated with it.

Based on this, we will have a more holistic view of the individual’s behavior, learning what factors contribute to the impulse and, therefore, being able to prevent small triggers from occurring that, together, They contribute to the behavior.

11. Go to therapy

In most cases, the impulses that are carried out are not something that necessarily implies a serious problem, however, Certain behaviors such as addictions, aggression or self-harm involve going to a professional

The psychotherapist will be in charge of offering therapies that reduce this impulsivity that is clearly harmful to the person, diagnosing the possible disorder behind it.

There are many disorders that could be related to the concept of impulse, such as in the case of many personality disorders, eating disorders (with purgative behaviors and binge eating), ADHD, and of course, control disorder. the impulses.