How to enhance the control of impulsivity through habits.
Some recommendations to train yourself in self-control through the adoption of new habits.
One of the most important aspects of the work of psychologists is to be able to find generalities in the problems of the people we serve.
That is to say, a good part of our work is oriented to attend to those experiences of their daily life that generate discomfort, and to identify patterns of behavior that explain several of them at the same time; the psychological predisposition that causes the person to stumble over and over again with the same stone.
For example, through decades of research we know that many of the problems experienced by those who come to psychotherapy have their origin in poor impulse control, a behavioral pattern that can lead to various forms of distress: addictions, nail biting, poor anger management, etc. Therefore, in this article we will look at tips on how to boost your impulsivity control through simple habits that can be applied to everyday life. to apply to the day to day.
Tips on how to boost your impulsivity control through habits
Apply these habits to your daily life to strengthen your self-control and keep impulsivity at bay.
1. Keep your own log of automatic behaviors.
First of all, first of all, you need to become aware of the problem you want to solve by introducing new habits into your life. by introducing new habits into your life. To do this, you should get into the habit of analyzing your own behavior for problem behaviors related to poor impulse control; when you notice something like this happening to you, write down in a notebook that you always carry with you everything related to what you felt, thought and did just before and after you engaged in the problem behavior.
The objective of this habit is to begin to recognize common aspects in all the occasions in which the impulse "takes control" of your behavior, something that will help you to stop it in the future.
2. Adopt habits that lower your anxiety levels.
Many times, self-control problems are fueled by heightened anxiety, the feeling of being overwhelmed by the challenges around us. Therefore, as a preventive measure, it is important that you introduce habits in your daily life that have to do with avoiding exposure to accumulated anxiety.
To start with, make sure you are getting enough sleepFor starters, make sure you are getting enough sleep, as something as simple as not getting enough sleep will make you mentally very weak and predispose you to fall back into your old habits, which include falling into your usual mistakes over and over again.
In addition, avoid drinking coffee beyond the first hour after waking up, and do moderate aerobic sport in order to keep the stress produced by your responsibilities, your worries, etc. at bay.
3. Set yourself concrete goals
Little by little, set yourself very concrete, short-term goals (a few days or a week or two) that have to do with making progress in the direction in which you want to change your behavior. In this way you will be enhancing your ability to control your impulses and at the same time having a clear vision of your achievements.You will have defined your goals in a way that is not ambiguous and easy to interpret in overly self-indulgent ways.
On those occasions when you fail, adopt a constructive mindset, take note of your mistakes and reattempt the challenge you have not yet been able to overcome.
4. Detect anticipatory feelings
Now that you have experience detecting the psychological states that precede the expression of those impulses you need to control, you have an easier time curbing them before it's too late. When you notice that these thoughts, emotions or mental images arise in your consciousness, focus on performing a task that is incompatible with the behavior you want to avoid..
5. Give yourself incentives
Reward yourself for the progress you make, if possible without always relying on material rewards. For example, when you achieve your goals for a whole week, you can go to a restaurant you like, and at other times you can give yourself a more symbolic or contextual incentive, such as hanging something on your bedroom wall that represents your progress.
Do you seek professional help?
In some cases it is not enough to try to change your habits on your own and it becomes necessary to have the help of a professional psychologist..
In situations like this, psychological intervention consists of going through a "training" program in which psychologists provide the theoretical and practical keys to make progress and ensure that the improvements remain consistent over time.
In a short period of time it is possible to obtain surprising results, and the benefits of these advances are very noticeable in different aspects of life.
- Carr, J. E. and Chong, I. M. (2005). Habit reversal treatment of tic disorders: a methodological critique of the literature. Behavior Modification, 29(6), pp. 858-875.
- Christenson, G.A., Crow, S.J. (1996). The characterization and treatment of trichotillomania. The Journal of clinical psychiatry (en inglés). 57(8): pp. 42 - 47
- Rhéaume, J.; Freeston, M.H.; Dugas, M.J.; Letarte, H.; Ladouceur, R. (1995). Perfectionism, responsibility and Obsessive-Compulsive symptoms. Behaviour Research and Therapy 33(7): pp. 785 - 794.