Bad id! No biscuit.
April 27, 2009 2:51 PM Subscribe
Curbing impulses: what are some simple, in-the-moment tricks for interrupting reflexive behavior patterns and restoring self-control?
posted by Bardolph to Health & Fitness (9 answers total) 26 users marked this as a favorite
The behaviors I've got in mind are mostly pretty minor, related to your garden-variety procrastination, mild social anxiety, and bad conversational habits. Problem is, though, that after years of self-indulgent reinforcement, I do a lot of this stuff semi-automatically-- emotional impulse leads seamlessly to problem behavior, without any self-conscious decision point in between. At the time, I may have a passing sense of "oh shit, here we go again," but it's not like there's ever a moment where I deliberately choose to duck into the bathroom instead of chatting to the passing coworker, or to click into Firefox instead of getting started on that dreaded monthly budget.
All this means that I'm at kind of a loss as to how to deal with these bad habits-- I understand and am working to address the bigger issues behind all this, but in the short term, fixing my thought patterns doesn't do much for what are, essentially, thoughtless actions. What I need are some on-the-spot ways to interrupt the knee-jerk impulse/action coupling, so I can get hold of myself, think, You know, I really don't want to do this, and with luck gain time to force myself into what I (rationally) know to be the correct behavior.
Since we're talking about automatic or sub-conscious behaviors, I'd be especially interested in possible physical/bodily interventions (for instance, a counselor friend tells anger-management clients to curb violent impulses by sticking their hand in a bucket of ice water-- anything like that, but less damp and messy?). Really, though, I'd welcome creative self-discipline suggestions of all stripes. O self-mastered Mefites, how do you do it? Teach me your secrets!