Tips to Use Self Control

Nancy B. Alston

Self control is the key to maintaining a balanced outlook on life, and to keep from sabotaging our relationships. Many regrets stem from a person’s inability to exert mastery of themselves at important times. Oddly enough, many times people are able to be aware that they are not demonstrating self-control at the exact moment they are doing something they know they will regret later. Anyone who has ever said, “I may regret this, but…” is completely aware of this feeling. If only more of us would listen to it!

Go with Your Gut

Trust your instincts. Your gut and the hairs on the back of your neck are great indicators that you may be about to step over whatever line you have marked for yourself as the border between acceptable and unacceptable behavior. Listening to your inner voice and following the instructions it gives you will always steer you towards the correct path.

Control Your Emotions

Displaying self mastery is much easier when your emotions are under control and you are at peace. When life in general is chaotic it is doubly difficult to stay calm, cool and collected. The more you are able to organize all of the important aspects of your life; family, friends, home and work; the easier it is to display self control. Anger and frustration play less of a role in making choices when you are surrounded by order.

Keep a Cool Head

Take five – or ten – or an hour! The expression that revenge is a dish best served cold exists for a reason. When you take the time to evaluate a situation, even for just a few seconds, before reacting to it many times you may realize that the initial reaction was too harsh. We all hate the toilet seat being left up, but a tirade will not teach him to put it down. Taking 10 deep breaths before making a decision or speaking, especially when emotions are high, can put things in a slightly different perspective.

Clarity of Mind

Maintaining self control is much easier with a clear head. Alcohol and drugs (prescription or otherwise) can alter the ability to respond to situations in a calm way. A glass of wine with dinner or a cold tablet when you are sick is perfect. Overdoing it can land you in trouble. Responding angrily to a little mishap or misunderstanding after a full bottle of wine usually leads to a lot of apologizing later.

The Role of Self Respect

Respect for oneself and respect for others will usually lead to expressing control over your emotions and actions in almost all situations. When regard for self is high, then the desire to live up to the standards you have set for yourself will guide you towards making good decisions and away from choices that lead to regrets or the need to make apologies.

Everyone Benefits from Good Decisions

Demonstrating perfect control at every moment and in every situation is nearly impossible. But you can learn to improve the level of mastery you have over yourself and make better decisions over time. Your instincts will generally guide you down the right path. If you are maintaining a balance in most areas of your life then extending that balance to others, one by one, becomes easier.

Whether it is stopping yourself from having that extra glass of wine, saying thanks but no thanks to the second piece of cake or breathing deep to keep yourself from losing your temper; the more you take a step back and think about the consequences the more positive your decisions will be. Apply self control to your life and watch your happiness increase!

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