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How to stop being impulsive: 5 keys to achieve it

How to stop being impulsive: 5 keys to achieve it

April 30, 2024

Impulsiveness can become a significant problem, both when relating to others and when managing our emotions and behaviors. Therefore, some people consider themselves too impulsive, and seek ways to limit this tendency to let go.

In this article we will see a series of tips on how to stop being impulsive (keeping in mind that impulsivity is a matter of degree).

  • Related article: "Impulsive people: their 5 characteristic traits and habits"

Tips to stop being impulsive

Any psychological change requires at least two things: time and effort . This is because the behaviors are not like the only biological processes, some of which can be modified in a matter of minutes by introducing a substance into the body; Psychology is fundamentally modifying habits and routines, and that requires continued practice.


Thus, knowing how to stop being impulsive implies being aware that this change will not be overnight and requires commitment and effort, which always causes a minimum amount of discomfort when leaving the comfort zone .

Having said that, let's look at the tips, keeping in mind that all of them must be adapted to the specific conditions in which each one lives, since each person is a world.

1. Change your environment to change yourself

Something that many people do not understand is that individual psychological changes do not occur in isolation from the environment, but maintain a bidirectional relationship with it. Therefore, the most lasting and significant changes come at least through the change of the environments in which we move in the usual way and to which we expose ourselves so that their characteristics shape how we are.


So, to stop being impulsive, a person should try to avoid exposing yourself to contexts in which impulsivity is a frequent reaction to what happens . For example, places with violence or physical dangers that require a quick response to virtually any stimulus, or sites full of elements that invite us to enter the vicious circle of obsessions or addictive behaviors.

2. Focus on your actions

The main theoretical model used to explain how self-control works in human beings indicates that the control of actions is related to the regulation of emotions and thoughts .

Therefore, one factor that can help to stop being excessively impulsive is to focus on not giving in to physical outbursts. Be clear about this objective at times when the temptation to perform a harmful action appears.


  • Maybe you're interested: "Self-control: 7 psychological tips to improve it"

3. Lead a healthy life

Good part of impulsivity may be due to stress.

The fact of walking in a state of alert produced by mental exhaustion, the feeling of having many fronts to attend and tasks to finish, or the feeling that one is in a hostile place, can cause the minimum reason to be frustrated to fall in impulsiveness, either tackling a problem aggressively, or by evading responsibilities through sensations that distract us (binge eating, impulse to buy, etc.).

Thus, the most common solutions to reduce stress and anxiety usually translate into a reduction in impulsivity, and among these, it is worth noting the maintenance of a balanced diet and adequate sleep schedules.

  • Related article: "Compulsive overeating: abuse and addiction to food"

4. Keep addictions away

Addictions are a constant source of frustration , and that leads us to be impulsive. For example, if you feel an extreme need to go out and smoke on the street, it is much more possible to respond in an aggressive way to someone who proposes something that would delay that appointment with cigarettes.

5. Question your beliefs

There are beliefs that predispose us to be impulsive in some contexts. Ideas that dehumanize certain people, for example, invite them to treat them as objects, that is, to disregard their feelings, so that the filters of socially acceptable behavior do not apply here.

Changing these beliefs is fundamental, and this is something that can be done, for example, through cognitive restructuring in psychotherapy.

6. Surround yourself with non-impulsive people

Finally, this element is also very relevant: stay in a context in which impulsivity is not a constant throughout the world .

We are part of what we see on a day-to-day basis, so being constantly interacting with impulsive people will make us tend to be more.In this way, changing social circles will help us a lot to leave impulsivity behind.

Bibliographic references:

  • Berkman, E. T .; Graham, A. M .; Fisher, P. A. (2012). "Training Self-Control: A Domain-General Translational Neuroscience Approach". Child Development Perspectives: n / a
  • Heatherton, T. F .; Baumeister, R. F. (1991). "Binge eating as escape from self-awareness". Psychological Bulletin. 110 (1): 86-108.
  • Nigg, J. T. (2000). "On inhibition / disinhibition in developmental psychopathology: Views from cognitive and personality psychology and a working inhibition taxonomy". Psychological Bulletin. 126 (2): 220-46.
  • Hofmann, W .; Schmeichel, B. J .; Baddeley, A. D. (2012). "Executive functions and self-regulation". Trends in Cognitive Sciences. 16 (3): 174-80.

How to Handle Acting Impulsively : Behavior Management (April 2024).


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