Donald Trump clearly has very poor self-control skills- he uses twitter like his own personal diary for example. How good are your self-control skills?
Can you resist telling a fellow colleague or family member where to go in an impolite way if you feel challenged by them? Can you overcome those strong cravings to drink that alcohol in the fridge or have that chocolate cake? Do you have difficulties moving yourself toward a dream that you have (to have more money, to be in love, or become to have a fit body) and can’t resist being distracted and procrastinating? Oh no if you’ve answered ‘not that good’ and ‘yes I do those things often’….then maybe your becoming like Donald Trump and soon you’ll notice a golden lock of fake hair sprouting from the top of your head, and you might begin to comb it over to cover up the bald spots that are also occurring (see above for an example of how the final outcome looks.)
So all jokes aside, a lot of people have difficulties with self-control and self-regulation skills. Hence, we decided to include some pointers of how to increase your self-control in every day life;
- Every time you get the urge to be nasty in some way towards someone (colleague, family member or otherwise) I want you to bring up the picture of Donald Trump- see the hair and bring up in your mind the child like pouting of the lips. And then I want you to remind yourself of the consequences of your behaviour- the way that the other person would perceive what your about to say and have you thought this thing out. So do the opposite of what Trump would do!!! Or from a psychologist point of view, do the opposite of what your emotion is telling you to do! Craving tells you to eat chocolate or go to the gym more than once per day, think about the consequence of this and do something else instead like have a warm bath or watch some reruns of Seinfeld or Simpson’s
- Before, during, or after forcing yourself to think of the consequences of your actions, I want you to get into the habit of taking some diaphrammatic breaths or Dbreaths as I call them. So you have to learn to use your diaphragm to most efficiently bring oxygen rich air into your body so that your anger/frustration/craving for chocolate, alcohol or shopping can be diluted and made easier for you to resist and overcome. I like to think of oxygen rich air as water that dilutes the thick and concentrated cordial that is my anger or fear, and image as I breath in through my diaphragm I am pouring the water and diluting the cordial and it’s not as strong….
- Know what’s important to you! Know thyself! By that I mean that if your goal is to speak with your partner in a calm way even though your anger levels are through the roof, then understand why that’s important for you to stop doing. Is it that you value the trust in your relationship, that you value being compassionate and kind, or that you value having strong and resilience love with your partner. Knowing what part in you the goal your trying to achieve connect with makes the pursuit of it much more bearable (and likely to continue) on the day’s when it’s hard and you feel like quitting but you also don’t. If you don’t know what your central values are you can download a values exercise from a really good guy called Russ Harris.
- And lastly practice, practice, practice. Self-control is a muscle and a very important one at that given that if you want to succeed in anything long term you can’t do it without this muscle. The above 3 pointers are deceptively hard but seem simple enough right!!! Don’t be fooled if you fail to practice them they will not work as well as they have the potential to. Like a wise person once told me- you only ever get back what you put in. So put in! Start with 10 mins a day of rereading this post and having a think about what aspects of your life your struggle with self control.
If you read this and this brings up certain challenges for you and you’d like to discuss how help could be provided then contact us on the number on our website www.embracepsychology.com. If you, a friend or a loved one are ever in any mental health emergency a good option is to contact the 24 hour mental health line on 1800 011 511- a truly wonderful NSW government initiative to improve the mental health in Australia.