This article will provide a comprehensive guide on engaging in impulse control activities so as to improve your overall mental wellness. Activities for impulse control can foster better decision-making and develop self-discipline for improved overall well-being.
Self-control is when you decide between your impulses and doing the things that are good for you or the right things. Self-control means you can control your impulses and your behaviors in order to achieve greater goals long term.
When individuals start to lose self-control, and they act on their impulses, they risk being able to achieve any long-term goals. People who give in to impulsive behavior or emotions might make bad decisions, decisions that harm themselves, or decisions that don’t get them the things they truly want.
Individuals who struggle with mental health disorders might be triggered into impulsive behaviors. Someone who struggles with untreated trauma might be triggered into an impulsive behavior or reaction after seeing the place where they were in a car accident or thinking about their childhood home where they suffered from abuse. Someone struggling with anxiety might be asked to take on a new project at work and, as a result, struggle with a need to be impulsive because of their emotional reaction to stress.
Impulse control activities can help anyone develop the self-control they need to maintain a healthy lifestyle.
Impulse control activities therapy
There are several therapeutic activities that you can integrate into your daily life in order to help you with impulse control. These activities to control impulse control all fall under the umbrella of holistic care and can be easily incorporated into any schedule.
Mindful Breathing Exercises
Mindful breathing exercises are at the core of all holistic mental health treatment. The purpose of any impulse control activity is to teach you to be mindful. Too often, we worry about the past or ruminate over the future, but we don’t remain in the present moment, and mindfulness can give you a chance to be aware of the present moment, your breathing, your environment, and your emotions.
Meditation and Yoga
Meditation and yoga are some of the most popular impulse control activities because they give you a chance to remain grounded in the present. Meditation and yoga often go hand in hand because so many yogic practices require meditative breathing called pranayama. With pranayama breathing techniques, you’re able to focus on inhalations and exhalations as they relate to specific poses.
Meditation on its own is equally effective at helping you control your impulses because it brings your mind back to something you can control, like your breathing. It gives you a chance to acknowledge the things you are feeling without judgment and without needing to act on or change them.
Goal-setting activities are a great way to remind yourself of the long-term goals you wish to achieve. This can help thwart impulsive behaviors or emotions as you focus on achieving your goals.
Journaling offers an opportunity to practice similar mindfulness but also explore your feelings and get them out on paper. Sometimes too much of what we experience gets bottled up inside, and when it stays there, it causes unnecessary stress, anxiety, and impulsivity. Journaling gives you a chance to write things out and exhale as you remove them from your present thoughts.
Role-playing scenarios are an effective form of impulse control because they allow you the opportunity to immediately act out different situations. If, for example, you are triggered, and you want to be impulsive in a specific way, role-playing through what that scenario would look like can help draw your mind back to the present and recognize the potential consequences of your impulsivity and in which situations you might foster more appropriate behavior.
Physical exercise is a great way to avoid impulsivity. A lot of impulsivity has to do with anxiety and stress or emotional extremes, but physical exercise brings you back to the present and releases endorphins, and these endorphins help control your mood, making you happier, calmer, and less prone to impulsivity.
Timeouts aren’t just for children. Timeouts are one of the many activities to improve impulse control that you can integrate whenever you are feeling impulsive or overwhelmed. Rather than act on your impulses, a timeout can give you a chance to put some time and emotional distance between yourself and your impulsivity.
Rather than responding to an impulsive trigger by immediately purchasing something or sending a hateful text, a timeout might allow you to incorporate mindfulness and focus on the things that matter.
Art and Craft Activities
One of the many impulse control activities available to anyone is arts and crafts. Arts and crafts come in many forms, and you don’t need to be particularly good in order to start your impulse control activity with a coloring book for adult anxiety or a project where you cut pictures out of a magazine and paste them onto a piece of paper.
Mindfulness-based activities can also help you improve your impulse control. Mindfulness-based activities can include meditative walking, Tai Chi, mindfully folding the laundry, or going for a hike. Other mindfulness activities can involve journaling, writing down how you’re feeling, and reviewing mindfulness concepts.
Games Requiring Strategy
Games requiring strategy can distract your mind from the impulses it might be having and help you gain better mood regulation.
How to implement impulse control activities in daily life?
If you want to incorporate impulse control activities into your daily life, don’t try to use all of the activities above simultaneously. Instead, start by adding one activity every few weeks. Work on regularly using that particular activity, and once you achieve stability in incorporating that activity into your daily routine, add the next activity.
No matter which of the impulse control activity options you choose, they provide long-term benefits by offering better impulse control. With impulse control, you can avoid things like anxiety or depression.
Overall, several activities for impulse control can help you develop better self-control and avoid being impulsive in your behavior or your emotions. There are several activities to improve impulse control that can be easily integrated into your daily routine and provide long-term benefits, but in some cases, it might be important to seek professional help where necessary.