Self-control - a skill you can hone

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Robert Maurer

Self-control - a skill you can hone

Last update: February 24, 2015

Self-control is the ability to rein in our emotions, especially strong ones like anger. We appeal to our capacity for self-control when, for example, we need to focus on a task without getting distracted. But what happens when we feel we often don't make it? How can we strengthen self-control? What aspects should you keep in mind to work on it?

As with other emotions, anger also helps us to respond adequately to stimuli according to our culture, and what happens around us. However, when we experience it for too long and let ourselves be carried away by it, it leads us to take actions that we then regret and this undermines our self-esteem and becomes an obstacle to achieving our goals. This is why it is important to reflect on it, to have the courage to question it and face its answers.

Anger comes suddenly when faced with a fact that makes us feel frustrated and prevents us from distinguishing and thinking about things clearly. It usually relates to attacks suffered, whether real or not, or to a limitation to our desires and / or rights. If we take sufficient time to analyze what we feel inside ourselves, we will notice that very often anger covers up other emotions, such as sadness following a disappointment or even the fear of suffering.

We often tend to relate the word self-control only with the limitation of inconvenient behavior. However, working on this skill also means taking on attitudes that have a positive influence on the likelihood and the way things happen around us.

During psychological therapy to strengthen self-control, the ability to observe one's own behavior is also analyzed, in order to recognize and understand what are the problematic aspects, as well as the characteristics of situations in which we lose self-control. Our role in the change and learning process allies with motivation and the benefits of strengthening self-control.

The secret is to accept that a certain behavior that we do not like is part of us, recognizing ourselves as responsible for our actions, without justifying them and without blaming or blaming someone else. When we recognize that we can choose, we immediately feel calmer and will be less likely to lose control. If we want to talk about self-control, the new guidelines we will adopt must not respond to external pressures.


* Write 2 or 3 relatively recent situations in which you have experienced strong emotion on a piece of paper. Include at least one in which you consider that you have been able to communicate your feelings adequately and one in which you have not. What differences do you notice?

-> When you find yourself in a stressful situation, count to 10 before replying to someone and think about how you would like them to behave with you if you were in their place.

-> If you are very tired, it is best to try to postpone the conversation. Some people believe that it is more useful to continue and think about everything right away even when they are exhausted, but sometimes it is better to take a moment to reflect.

-> Relaxation exercises, integrated into your daily routine, are a really useful tool.

When you work on feelings such as anger, you will be able to substantially change situations that are problematic today, by taking on a new attitude. Strengthening the ability of self-control is a path of understanding and connection with our way of conceiving the world, our thoughts, feelings and actions.

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