Life & Work

How To Practice Self-Control

With everything happening in our lives coupled with the demands of work and family, sometimes self-control falls by the wayside. When it feels like everything is piling up and an overwhelming sense begins to take over, we give in to ourselves in ways we normally would not. From saying things we don’t mean, to indulging in foods that are not great for our health, figuring out how to increase self-control is often a necessary exercise. Self-control means having the ability to control emotional reactions, feelings and even response mechanisms to situations and instances in our lives. In tough moments, we often react emotionally rather than having the self-control to step back and make a well thought out decision. Fortunately, with a few tricks up your sleeve and a well-thought out plan for how to tackle tough situations, there’s a lot you can do to help increase self-control. Start here, with the following 4 tips.

  1. Take a step back and look at the big picture. In this moment, is your frustration stemming from the overall big picture or is one small facet leaving you hung up. More than likely, it’s a small bump in the road that feels bigger than it actually is. Stepping back and taking a moment will help put the issue into perspective and will give you the ability to find a solution.
  2. Have something to eat. Believe it or not, drops in blood sugar don’t help situations where needing some self-control comes into play. We’ve all been there – big deadlines at the office or a super busy day shuttling kids around, leaves you not eating and super hungry. Hunger turns into a sour attitude, making exercising self-control a nearly impossible feat. Have a quick healthy snack like a piece of fruit or some almond butter and crackers to keep the blood sugar levels steady and the self-control in check.
  3. Get some exercise and fresh air. It’s funny how exercise is a solution for so many things – mental health being up there at the top of the list. Exercise is a stress relief and additionally one of the best ways to expend excess or pent up energy, not to mention the scientific stuff like increased oxygen and blood flow to the brain. Need a breather from a tough day to reset those self-control buttons? A little bit of exercise and some fresh air will go a long way.
  4. Get enough sleep. Sounds so simple and kind of ridiculous, right? Wrong! Sleep is one of the main drivers that distinguish between having a cloudy or a clear head. Sleep resets your ability to control your emotions by giving you some time off and a chance to clear the decks. Make sleep a priority.

Have you recently had trouble with self-control? Have you learned any tricks for ways to exercise a more well-thought-out approach rather than knee-jerk reactions to tough situations?