How Not to Lose Self-Control and Stay Positive and Happy?

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A team of researchers at the University of Chicago concluded that people who can control their emotions and thoughts are a lot happier, more positive, satisfied and productive.


Research about self-control

The researchers wanted to know the importance and benefits of self-control to our health and in our lives, and they did research that included questioning 414 adults about their desires, emotions and overall experiences. The study included an online survey where the participants were asked to rate their self-control by agreeing or disagreeing with 14 statements.

They further reported about their current emotional state and satisfaction in life.  The survey also included the data from a study in which 205 adults were reporting their emotions at random moments throughout the week via Smartphones. The main goal of this research was to gather the data about the participant’s resistance to the desires.

The result showed that people who had more self-control were more satisfied with their lives and more successful in life.

The question that is interesting to pose is: Whether people with more self-control can enjoy life? Some say that a lot of self-control could derive a lot of pleasure and enjoyment in life. Therefore self-controlling people are more likely to realize long-term goals efficiently.

On the other hand, not being able to control emotions and desires, and to act on impulses, can destroy our mental and physical health, and result in depression and mental illnesses.



The science behind this research is not determined, are we all aware of how low self-esteem and lack of self-control can cause significant disturbances in life, and how a lot of self-control can deprive us of pleasure.

The conclusion is simple: we need to comprehend self-control in its core so that we can be able to have control and experience joy.

However, the truth is that self-control is linked to success in many aspects of life, and for those who are lacking self-control, there are ways to boost it.



Identify your weakness and improve self-control

This is probably the hardest task you will have to do – you may not be aware of your weaknesses because they have become habits.

 improve self-control - identify your weakness

Another sort of unpleasant result may be the surprise and the disappointment you will experience once you revel and uncover the truth behind those weaknesses.

However, this should not frighten and discourage you, but you should be aware of this possibility. Where to start? Start with the things you already know. If, for instance, you cannot control your wine habits, avoid those aisles at the grocery store. If you remove the temptation, you will have more power to fight.


Plan to avoid the temptation

The second major problem is undoubtedly when you realize you cannot avoid temptation. What should you do? You need to have a plan and to know how to handle a particular situation and overcome it. For instance, if you are a shopaholic, leave your charge card at home, or take a limited amount of money.

Be disciplined, and you will not have any regrets later.


Control glucose levels

When you consume high-glycemic foods (sweets, for instance), blood glucose levels drop. The body quickly absorbs this food and it leads to the sugar rush, leaving you with low self-control. Avoid these foods and stabilize your blood sugar level while controlling yourself at the same time.


Encourage abstract thinking

Although it seems very strange, abstract thinking is, however, linked to high self-control. As opposed to concrete thinking that is in a way more focused on the means of accomplishing the particular goal. Abstract thinking is focused on a goal itself and it enhances the creativity in the process.


Have a healthy and restful sleep

Sleep deprivation is linked to a lack of self-control. This comes as no surprise since lack of sleeping and resting is linked to many mental and emotional problems and “turbulences”.

healthy and restful sleep - how not to lose self-control

Research showed that while we sleep, glucose levels in the pre-frontal cortex are regenerated, and self-control is replenished.


Reward and penalize yourself

It is no secret that many people accomplish better results and achieve goals when they are motivated in many ways. Certain researches showed that when a person has a reward in mind, it can achieve short-term goals more successfully.

Although this is not always beneficial, and it can also backfire, it is still better to motivate yourself and to create a reward system that will help you battle and conquer your temptations. For example, if one were studying very hard for the exam and achieved the expected results, there is no reason why he or she should not be rewarded.

If you create your rewarding system, you should have your penalty system as well, a system that will remind you of the importance of the control. Punishment can be motivational and very educational.


Surround yourself with people who have high self-control

This is a motivational step you need to take, but you have to be sincere with yourself. Being surrounded by strong-willed people can mask your temptations and desires and create a sort of “artificial” emotional support. However, social interactions are motivational and can help us realize when we are out of control.

If you are spending more time with someone who has control over budget, it is more likely you will be able to control your budget as well. What you should remember is that you need to be your own support one day.


Be positive and inspired

Positive thinking can enhance your ability to resist temptation and it can help you make it easier. On the other hand, try to realize what the source of your inspiration is, what can motivate you to do your best and resist temptations and desires.

Try to do something that brings positive thinking every day. Remember that enhancing self-control needs practice, so you need to practice.


Eliminate stress

Stress is the worst enemy. Use your time to focus on important goals and to alleviate stress.

how not to lose self-control -eliminate stress

Meditate, for instance, it can help you avoid stressful situations and boost your self-control.

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Last article update: 10/30/2019