Strength Is Self Control and Self Control is Strength

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Strength is self control and self control is strength. 

Even more, self control can be strengthened and so our strength can be strengthened.

endorphins-runningThere are many studies that describe how self control can be increased through physical 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. If you’re having trouble resisting the impulse to walk over to the office next door to let somebody have it, just keep on walking. You should have the impulse under control by the time you get back.  Endorphins help us feel good.  This is powerful when trying to improve or increase our self control.

Another way to increase self control is to distract yourself from the thing that you’re craving.  Set a short time limit, like 15 minutes to participate in a different activity.  This does two things: it increases your confidence in yourself that you can live without the thing that is tempting you; and it helps you to focus on a more productive activity for this period of time.  To do this it is best to be prepared in advance with a list of numbers to call (people in AA that can share about how they made it through the first weeks of their recovery) or tools to engage in your activity (sneakers or a book etc.)  There is something very beneficial about seeing oneself attain a goal by overcoming an area of weakness.  This is not just a physical benefit but in a sense a very spiritual victory but it takes place openly in out physical realm.

protien-and-healthy-fatDiet is also a consideration because foods that could cause your blood sugar to drop will increase the opportunity for impulsivity.  Hence, foods that stabilize your blood sugar like proteins and healthy fats are a safer choice if your goal is to increase self control in an area.

We are also vulnerable when we do not get enough rest.   Sleep helps your brain work properly.  While we’re sleeping, our brains are preparing for the next day and forming new pathways to help us learn and remember information.  Studies show that a good night’s sleep improves learning.  Whether we’re learning math, how to play the piano, how to perfect our golf swing, or how to drive a car, sleep helps enhance our learning and problem-solving skills.   Sleep also helps you pay attention, make decisions, and be creative.  Studies also show that sleep deficiency alters activity in some parts of the brain.  If you’re sleep deficient, you may have trouble making decisions, solving problems, controlling your emotions and behavior, and coping with change.  Sleep deficiency also has been linked to depression, suicide, and risk-taking behavior.  Children and teens who are sleep deficient may have problems getting along with others. They may feel angry and impulsive, have mood swings, feel sad or depressed, or lack motivation. They also may have problems paying attention, and they may get lower grades and feel stressed.

One last factor with increasing self control is increasing our awareness.  We may need to journal or log areas of difficulty that we are trying to strengthen.  For more information on how to do this, contact us at (609) 510-4007 and we will share some of the tools that have been helpful with our clients over the years.

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