The Awesome Power of Self-Control
He who reigns within himself, and rules passions, desires, and fears, is more than a king. –John Milton
Self- Control is the Key to Success and more so Well-being
The ability to completely control your emotions and to not let them run you is called self-control. It is one of the most desirable qualities a person can have. If you do let emotions run our lives, it has the potential to wreak complete havoc in your life. Emotions can cloud intelligence and often prevents us from doing what we know we must do. Self-control equals self-discipline.
Self-control is essential for success in any field. If we were to conduct a study on successful people, we would find that they all possess the quality of self-control in the highest degree. No wonder the Bible says it’s one of the fruits of the Spirit. It is meant for our good and worth cultivating. God would never steer us wrong.
Self-control is a key factor in achieving success. We can’t control everything in life, but we can definitely control ourselves. –Jan McKingley Hilad
Let us consider some steps for cultivating and engaging in Self-Control
Self-Control Tip 1– Meditate
Meditation actually trains your brain to become a self-control machine (and it improves your emotional intelligence). Even simple techniques like mindfulness, which involve taking as little as five minutes a day to focus on nothing more than you are breathing and your senses, improves your self-awareness and your brain’s ability to resist destructive impulses.
Self-Control Tip 2 – Eat
Consider this to be a counter intuitive category, especially if you are having trouble controlling, your eating. Your brain burns into the storehouse of glucose when attempting to exert self-control. If your blood sugar is low, you are far more likely to succumb to destructive impulses. Sugary foods do spike your sugar levels quickly and leave you drained and vulnerable shortly thereafter. So, make sure you eat something which gives you a fighting chance such as whole grain rice or meat .
Self-Control Tip 3 – Exercise
Getting your body moving for as little as 10 minutes releases GABA, a neurotransmitter that makes your brain feel soothed and keeps you in control of your impulses. For instance: If you are having trouble resisting the impulse to walk over to the office next door instead of using the lift just keep on walking. You will have the impulse under control by the time you get back.
Self-Control Tip 4 – Sleep
When you are tired, your brain cells’ ability to absorb glucose is highly diminished. As explained earlier, your brain’s ability to control impulses is nil without glucose. What is worse, without enough sleep you are more likely to crave sugary snacks to compensate for low glucose levels. So, if you’re trying to exert self-control over your eating, getting a good night’s sleep every night is one of the best moves you can make.
Self-Control Tip 5 – Forgive Yourself
A vicious cycle of failing to control oneself followed by feeling intense self-hatred and disgust is common in many attempts at self-control. These emotions typically lead to over-indulging in the offending behavior. When you slip up, it is critical that you forgive yourself and move on. Focus must be on improving yourself in the future.
Psychology of Self-Control
Self-control is basically self-discipline. It is the ability to control reactions and rash behavior, and to put in check undesirable habits and actions.
To put it in pointers:
- It is the skill that enables you to say “no” and “enough” to yourself.
- It is the ability to put boundaries, know when to stop and when not to overdo.
- It is the ability to abstain from harmful extremes of behavior and actions.
- It is the ability to avoid eating unhealthy food or too much food.
- It means being able to stop doing anything that might be harmful for you and for others.
- It is you, your consciousness, your real essence that does control your subconscious and habitual behavior and automatic responses.
This has to be the case but it is not always so!
Hence, it is good to practice Emotional Detachment for Happier Life
- Imagine how free, relieved and happy you would be, if you could stay calm and poised in stressful situations
• Let go of negative thoughts and feelings
• Stop taking things personally
• Protect yourself from stressful people
What Are the Benefits of Self-Control?
Here are a few of the benefits of self-control and how it can help you:
- It keeps in check self-destructive, addictive, obsessive and compulsive behavior.
- It gives you mastery over your life, and brings balance into your life.
- Self-control helps to keep over-emotional responses in check and moderation.
- Self-control eliminates the feeling helplessness and being too dependent on others.
- It helps to manifest mental and emotional detachment, which contributes towards the peace of mind.
- It enables to control moods and reject negative feelings and thoughts.
- Self-control strengthens your self-esteem, confidence, inner strength, self-mastery and willpower.
- It enables you to take charge of your life.
- This ability makes it possible to abstain from undesirable behavior in various situations.
- It makes you a responsible and trustworthy human being.
- It helps you resist temptations in order to indulge in things that can harm your health or waste your time.
What Are the Obstacles to Self-Control? Why it is difficult to gain and maintain self-control?
Here are a few reasons:
- Lack of knowledge and understanding what self-control really is.
- Strong and uncontrolled emotional responses.
- Reacting to outside stimuli, without thinking first.
- Lack of discipline and willpower.
- Lack of the desire to change and improve.
- Considering this ability as a limiting and unpleasant activity.
- The wrong belief that its possession might eliminate fun and joy.
- Lack of faith in oneself and in one’s abilities.
- To possess this ability, you need to eliminate these obstacles.
Self-discipline begins with the mastery of your thoughts. If you don’t control what you think, you can’t control what you do. Simply, self-discipline enables you to think first and act afterward.–Napoleon Hill
How to Increase Self-Control: This is the Key
The more self-control you have, the better your life will be, and the more mastery you will have over it. Here are a few tips for increasing this ability.
1. Identify the areas where you lack control and discipline
The first step would be to identify in what areas of your life you need to gain more self-control.
Where do you find yourself lacking this skill? Possible areas could be:
- Overeating, and eating junk food
- Addiction to shopping
- Drinking too much alcohol
- Spending too many hours working and leaving no time for anything else
- Addiction to gambling
- Watching too much TV
- Obsessive behavior
- Being quick to get angry
- Become fully aware of your uncontrolled emotions
2. Become fully aware of your uncontrolled emotions
Try identifying and becoming aware of the emotions that you do not control, such as anger, dissatisfaction, unhappiness, resentment or fear.
3. Thoughts and beliefs
Identify the thoughts and beliefs that push you to behave in an uncontrolled and unrestrained manner. Identify these thoughts and beliefs, trying to understand them and find out whether they are reasonable and desirable, will reduce impulsiveness and rash reactions.
4. Thinking about the consequences of your behaviour
After identifying all the above issues, devote a few minutes every day for thinking about the consequences of this behaviour and how your life would be different without them.
Several times a day, especially when you need to display self-control, repeat for a minute or two one of the following affirmations:
- I am in complete control of myself.
- I have the power to choose my emotions and thoughts.
- Self-control brings me inner strength and leads me to success.
- I am in control of my reactions.
- I am in charge of my behaviour.
- I am gaining control of my emotions.
- I am the master of my life.
- Day by day, my ability to control my feelings and thoughts is increasing.
- Self-control is fun and pleasure.
Visualize yourself acting with self-control and self-restraint. Take one of the instances where you usually act with lack of control, and visualize that you are acting calmly, with self-mastery and restraint.
7. Willpower and self-discipline
Your self-control will improve considerably, if you work on developing and increasing your willpower and self-discipline through appropriate exercises. This is actually the most important step for developing this essential skill.
Practice Self-Control coupled with willpower and immerse yourself into the vibe of Self- Discipline which is the most positive way to live life! You will gradually see how you and your life are changing for the better.
“I am the master of my fate; I am the captain of my soul.”–William Henley
About the Author
Trishna Patnaik, a BSc (in Life Sciences) and MBA (in marketing) by qualification but an artist by choice. A self-taught artist based in Mumbai, Trishna has been practising art for over 14 years. After she had a professional stint in various reputed corporates, she realised that she wanted to do something more meaningful. She found her true calling in her passion that is painting. Trishna is now a full-time professional painter pursuing her passion to create and explore to the fullest. She says, “It’s a road less travelled but a journey that I look forward to everyday.” Trishna also conducts painting workshops across Mumbai and other metropolitan cities of India.
Trishna is an art therapist and healer. She works with clients on a one-on-one basis in Mumbai.
Trishna fancies the art of creative writing and is dappling her hands in that too, to soak in the experience and have an engagement with readers, wanderers and thinkers.