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Self-control: 7 psychological tips to improve it

Self-control: 7 psychological tips to improve it

May 6, 2021

The self-control is the ability to exercise control over oneself, that is, to control one's own emotions, behaviors, desires, or simply be calm. This ability allows us to face every moment of life with greater serenity and efficiency.

The person who possesses a high self-control is able to master his thoughts and his way of acting, which can be beneficial in many situations . For example, in a couple conflict or a labor negotiation. Research affirms that emotional intelligence is key to being able to master this ability.

Recommended article: "Emotional Control Techniques: 10 effective strategies"

Benefits of self-control

Therefore, the first step to control our behavior and our way of thinking is to have a great self-knowledge. In this way, one is able to recognize his emotions and is able to regulate his way of acting .


But, what are the benefits of self-control? Self-control brings many advantages, such as the following:

  • It allows facing difficult situations with greater efficiency
  • Help keep calm
  • It helps to have greater clarity of thought
  • Benefits the relationship with others
  • It allows you to control stress when you feel under pressure
  • Help make better decisions
  • It increases the ability to concentrate
  • Better self-esteem
  • Improves emotional well-being

Tips to improve self-control

Owning self-control is not always easy: imagine if you are doing a diet to lose weight and when going out to dinner at a restaurant you have to make a great effort to not eat the brownie They served you in the dessert.


Self-control is important for humans, and some studies claim that people with greater self-control make more friends, get better grades or have a healthier life because they suffer less overweight or smoke and drink less alcohol.

As well, you'll like to know that the ability to self-control can be improved . For that reason, and so that you can get the most out of it, in today's article we have prepared a list of tips to improve your self-control capacity. Take note!

1. You should know that self-control can be improved

If you have difficulty controlling your behavior, the first thing you should know is that it is possible to improve your self-control ability, because otherwise, you can hardly do it. So have a positive attitude and do your part to better regulate your emotions and your behavior .


2. Be aware and define what you want to control

It is essential that you be aware of what you want to control and that you know what you want to change, because if you are not aware of your current behaviors and routines, it is difficult to practice self-control. If you want to lose weight, first of all you should know what you eat daily. On the other hand, if you want more control of attention to improve your athletic performance or make better decisions, first you must know what you are doing wrong and you must know your negative habits , those that prevent you from being more efficient. In addition, being aware helps you to detect problematic situations, which will allow you to react on time.

Recommended article: "Control of attention in sport: attentional approaches"

3. Do not depend on your brute strength

There are complex situations that are not always easy to control. People have a limit, and self-control does not mean that we have to fight against the current. For example, if you are in the office and have just had a conflict with a co-worker, you may want to control the situation by staying in the same room as him and acting as if the thing is not going with you. Maybe it's a good alternative Take a few minutes of rest in the coffee room to reflect and return to normal instead of forcing you to pretend that you have everything under control.

4. Be emotionally intelligent

Emotional Intelligence (EI), a concept made popular by Daniel Goleman, is the ability to identify, understand and regulate one's own emotions and those of others. Self-control or self-regulation of emotions is one of the skills that dominate emotionally intelligent people , but that is not understood without the domain of the other elements that make up this type of intelligence, for example, self-knowledge or empathy. Learning and acquiring emotional intelligence skills makes you a person with greater self-control. That's why we recommend reading the following articles:

  • What is emotional intelligence? Discovering the importance of emotions
  • The 10 benefits of emotional intelligence

5. Reduce the appeal of temptations

If you are one of those who really like sweets, it can be difficult to resist a piece of chocolate, especially when you think about how it will melt in your mouth.

A celebrity with a study called "the marshmallow test" (the marshmallow are the treats also called clouds) that made in the 60s the psychologist Walter Mischel at Stanford University, showed what was the best way to resist the temptation to eat sweets . In addition, according to the conclusions of the study, The ability to self-control predicts that a person can achieve success, both academic, emotional and social .

The experiment counted with a group of subjects of 4 years of age, who were given a marshmallow. They were asked that if they could wait 20 minutes without eating, they would be given another. Those children who could not resist the temptation to take it to their mouths would not receive another cloud. The results showed that 2 out of 3 children did not last 20 minutes and ate the candy. After a few years, the researchers discovered that those who resisted the temptation were more successful in the labor and academic fields as well as in the social and emotional ones.

But what made some children resist temptation and others not? For children who were asked to imagine the candy as an image or an abstract figure (for example, a cloud in the sky) were more successful in resisting temptation. On the other hand, those children who imagined the candy for its taste or for being a chewy candy had greater difficulties in the test.

6. Modify the environment

Imagine that you are at home and, although you are on a diet, you want to eat some cookies. Luckily, you go to the kitchen, you open the closet and you see it's over. In the end you choose to eat a banana and a yogurt that, after all, are healthier. Having negative stimuli at your fingertips is not a good option , so, if you want to have more self-control, you can make decisions such as not buying cookies.

Imagine another example: You are studying in your room and you have a bowl with candy in front of you, obviously you will eat more candy if you have it on your desk than if you do not have it. Therefore, changing the environment is a good strategy for self-control. A study conducted in 2006 found that a group of secretaries ate more candies when the bowl they were in was transparent instead of opaque, and when it was on their work table instead of a distance greater than 6 feet.

Did you know that the colors of a room can affect your mood and your buying impulses?

If this interests you, you can visit our article: "Psychology of color: meaning and curiosities of colors"

7. Try Mindfulness

The Mindfulness It is a practice widely used today and research shows that it helps improve self-control and emotional management, especially in situations of stress.

Basically, Mindfulness focuses on an attitudinal and attitudinal work, with which one seeks to be present, in the here and now, intentionally, fulfilling basic principles and a thought characterized by not judging, accepting, being compassionate and patient. Still do not know the Mindfulness practice and its benefits?

If you wish, you can read our post: "Mindfulness: 8 benefits of mindfulness"

Improve Your Self Discipline with 3 Psychology Tips (May 2021).


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