Self-control is the ability to subdue our impulses in order to achieve longer-term goals rather than responding to immediate impulses. Instead we plan, evaluate and often avoid doing things we’ll regret later. The ability to exert self control is typically referred to as willpower, which enables us to direct our attention toward targets. And, therefore, it underlies all sorts of achievement.
The Marshmallow Experiment –
A psychologist named Walter Mischel, in a psychology experiment in 1970, placed a treat in front of Palm Bay Raccoon Removal children and offered them a choice – they could either enjoy a treat of marshmallow now, or wait for a brief period of time to be able to get two snacks.
He found on coming to the room after a while that several of the kids immediately ate the marshmallow, but a portion of the kids were able to put off the desire to enjoy the treat today and wait for the reward of getting two delicious goodies later on.
Mischel found later that the kids, who had waited for the treat, performed better academically than kids, who ate the deal straight away. Those, who delayed their gratification, also displayed fewer behavioral problems and later had considerably higher SAT scores.
In follow-up experiments, Mischel found that using a number of distraction techniques helped kids delay gratification more effectively.
The kids in Mischel’s study had the promise of a secondary benefit for waiting only a short time period. But, on the contrary, regular situations don’t necessarily come with this assurance and, therefore, it becomes quite tricky to delay gratification.
Unpredictability of future benefits –
The uncertainty about future benefits makes delaying immediate gratification a real challenge. And, that is the reason why, many think why not have immediately that’s there in front of us. May be, it might not be there later!
If on a diet, many will lose their self-control and give into temptation to enjoy a delicious dish in a party. They will argue with themselves that after following a diet program, they are facing difficulty in losing weight. So why not enjoy the treat! They forget at that time that a weight loss plan requires real self-control.
Developing self-control –
We can look at self-control for a muscle, and like our physical muscles, we can strengthen it by training. Below are some proven ways to do so –
Each time you tell yourself “I can not,” you’re creating a feedback, which is a reminder of your own limitations. This terminology indicates that you are forcing yourself to do something you don’t want to do. So, by creating positive affirmations such as “I will do it”, you’ll be able to retrain your responses to situations that require self-control. With many repetitions of these affirmations, you’ll have the ability to develop good self-control.
Delay instant gratification – Delaying instant gratification is one potent method to develop self-control. Delaying gratification involves the ability to wait to get what one desires. Though it is often quite difficult, it is most important for developing self-control. Choosing a long-term reward over immediate gratification poses a major challenge in many areas of life. An individual can employ diversionary tactics like considering something else, or simply walking from the sight of tempting object or merely reminding yourself that delaying will yield more benefits. It actually needs to be done repeatedly until you can fortify your will-power.
Can meditations frequently – Experts agree upon the board that a regular practice of meditation offers many advantages of overall physical and mental well-being to the practitioner. It helps reduce the levels of emotional reactivity and impulsivity because it gives a latency to the practitioner before reacting. The latency keeps growing as the practitioner advances in the practice of meditation. It’s this latency period that gives a person time to think before reacting, which, in its place, comes as proactive response. So, instead of giving into the temptation of immediate gratification, you will have some opportunity to change your thoughts. And it doesn’t take a lifetime of practice but, on the contrary, behavioral changes to counteract reactivity have been observed after eight weeks of brief daily meditation training.
Learn to manage stress – High levels of anxiety entice us to surrender to temptations, forcing us to make decisions based on short-tem outcomes, because the process of decision making requires energy, and we’re low on energy level under high stress. By being relaxed, we’ll have the ability to make sound decisions with far reaching positive effects. Our self-control gives in, when we are under any type of high stress, especially if this involves emotions. Thus we can conclude that if we learn to manage our stress well, we’ll have better self-control.