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8 Simple Methods to Boost Your Willpower and Self Control

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willpower

Surely if you’ve ever tried helping someone quit smoking, odds are that you will hear the word “will” spoken in the first 5 minutes. Aside from the popular procrastinating sentence: “I will quit smoking next year”, you might hear a smoker say: “It takes a lot of willpower to give up on cigarettes”. What do you think is the reason that most people quit smoking? Is it because they don’t have enough willpower?

At the beginning of every year, you will hear a lot of discussion about New Year’s resolutions. These tend to be high hopes for the year lying ahead in the form of a list of objectives. Let’s face it, most of us feel the need to start fresh, with a new chapter in the book of our life in which we’ve learned from our past mistakes and feel ready to move on.

These thoughts can take the form of: “I’m going to stop eating fast-food” or “Next year I promise I’ll hit the gym every other day” or “By the end of next year, I’ll have learnt a new language”. The list can go on and on because, after all, setting objectives is the easiest step. However, abandoning them is also easy. So, does willpower have anything to do with it?

First, let’s examine the relationship between willpower and self-control. Roy Baumeister conducted a study in which he wanted to test the effects of forced actions (or doing something that one doesn’t enjoy) on self-control. People have a limited amount of energy dedicated to self-control. The more one consumes that energy, the harder it becomes to maintain self-control and be productive.

Baumeister pinned the term “ego-depletion” to describe the loss of self-control due to mental effort.

Willpower is the fuel that drives self-control and both could be looked at as a muscle that loses tone if you don’t exercise.

Below, are 8 things you can practice to boost your will-power and self-control:

1. Control the context in which you live

For example: You decide to quit smoking but you continue meeting your smoker friends in places where people generally smoke. With the help of your own willpower, you manage to refrain from smoking for a while. Unfortunately, refraining from smoking drains you.

You then give in to your impulses, light up a cigarette and think to yourself: “Gosh, it’s so difficult to quit smoking. I might do it someday, though.” In this scenario, if you know yourself and you’re determined to quit smoking, it’s OK to admit that you aren’t capable (yet) to meet up with people in places that you know that your willpower will be drained.

2. Build good habits

Most of the things that we do every day are done on auto-pilot, according to our habits. It may not be obvious, but if you look back, you’ll notice the things you do now are more or less the same things you did yesterday, a month or a year before.

The good news is once a habit has been formed, the new actions you take will begin forming a better more productive habit. The bad news is that when you’re stressed or run out of willpower, you turn to bad habits or actions that bring you instant gratification such as drinking alcohol or playing computer games.

3. Sleep well

Going to the gym isn’t all about exercise. You need enough sleep and nutrients to see the best results. The same goes with your willpower-muscle: if you don’t get enough sleep, your brain won’t function at optimum levels and you will find it more difficult to do what needs to be done.

4. Start early on the most difficult tasks

Willpower is a limited resource and is consumed over the course of a day. Mornings are the best part of the day to get the really boring or difficult tasks done because your energy and willpower levels are at the top.

“The early morning has gold in its mouth.” – Benjamin Franklin

5. Keep your glucose levels under control

Another experiment conducted by Dr. Baumeister identified the fact that each act of self-control causes glucose levels to drop. You can counteract loss of self-control and willpower by making sure that your blood glucose levels are optimum.

6. Take breaks often

The best way to refresh your self-control is to split your workload into small tasks. A famous method called the Pomodoro technique works wonders for a lot of people. You work for 25 minutes, take a 5-minute break to recharge and repeat the process. That way, you’ll stay focused, knowing you have a limited amount of time to complete tasks you won’t be in danger of information overload.

7. Exercise

It’s no mystery that so many successful people mention exercise as one of their top daily priorities. Any type of physical activity that requires self-control and discipline is beneficial for your mental and physical health. It will also make it easier for you to be disciplined in other areas of your life.

8. Prioritize and minimize

The fewer decisions you need to make, the more willpower you will have in your “reservoir” for the activities that are truly important to you. Steve Jobs, for example, was renowned for always wearing the same clothes. When asked why he did this, he simply replied that it’s one less decision to make every day.

“Sometimes it’s the smallest decisions that can change your life forever.” – Keri Russell

Habits take time, effort and discipline to form. One of the most common mistakes people make when trying to change their habits is to be overly proud of the “battles” they’ve won against their will and comfort. It’s important to know that if you want to be a winner in the game of life, you have to maintain balance, so you will be as ready as you can for all of life’s challenges.  

What tips do you have for managing your self-control? Let us know by commenting below!

Image courtesy of Twenty20.com

Michael Schoeff is a pet product designer and entrepreneur from Ohio. He’s failed many times before prospering from his own business and he’s done so with passion, discipline and determination. He also enjoys blogging about dog training in his spare time.

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5 Indicators of Unresolved Attachment Trauma

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Emotional Attachment Trauma

Trauma caused during specific stages of a child’s development, known as attachment trauma, can have lasting effects on a person’s sense of safety, security, predictability, and trust. This type of trauma is often the result of abuse, neglect, or inconsistent care from a primary caregiver.

Individuals who have not fully processed attachment trauma may display similar patterns of behavior and physical or psychological symptoms that negatively impact their adult lives, including the choices they make in relationships and business.

Unfortunately, many people may not even be aware that they are struggling with trauma. Research estimates that 6% of the population will experience PTSD in their lifetime, with a majority of males and females having experienced significant trauma.

Unresolved attachment trauma can significantly impair the overall quality of a person’s life, including their ability to form healthy relationships and make positive choices for themselves. One well-known effect of unhealed attachment trauma is the compulsion to repeat past wounds by unconsciously selecting romantic partners who trigger their developmental trauma.

However, there are other less recognized but equally detrimental signs of unprocessed developmental trauma.

 

Five possible indications of unresolved attachment trauma are:

 

1.  Unconscious Sabotage

Self-sabotage is a common pattern among individuals with unprocessed attachment trauma. This cycle often begins with hurting others, which is then followed by hurting oneself. It is also common for those with attachment trauma to have heightened emotional sensitivity, which can trigger this cycle.

This pattern can manifest in lashing out, shutting down, or impulsive behavior that leads to feelings of guilt, shame, and self-loathing.

Many people with attachment trauma are not aware of their wounds and operate on survival mode, unconsciously testing or challenging the emotional investment of those around them, and pushing them away out of self-preservation and fear of abandonment.

This can lead to a pattern of making poor choices for themselves based on impulsivity.

 

2. Persistent Pain

 
Chronic pain is a common symptom that can stem from early trauma. Studies have shown a connection between physical conditions such as fibromyalgia, headaches, gastrointestinal issues, insomnia, muscle aches, back pain, chest pain, and chronic fatigue with the aftermath of chronic developmental trauma, particularly physical abuse.
 
Research has found that individuals with insecure attachment styles, such as anxious, avoidant, or disorganized, have a higher incidence of somatic symptoms and a history of physical and emotional abuse in childhood compared to those with a secure attachment style.
 
 

3. Behaviors That Block Out Trauma

 
Trauma blocking practises are used to avoid the pain and memories connected with traumatic events.
 
Emotional numbing, avoidance, and escape via briefly pleasurable activities that distract from terrible memories or suffering are common examples. Unfortunately, this escape habit stops people from successfully processing and recovering from their trauma.
 
Furthermore, when the pain resurfaces, more and more diversions are necessary to continue ignoring it. This can be seen in compulsive behaviours such as drug or alcohol addiction, emotional eating, numbing oneself through relationships, workaholism, excessive or dangerous exercise routines, compulsive internet or technology use, or any other compulsive behaviour used to distract yoursef from intrusive thoughts and emotions.
 
These actions have the potential to prolong a cycle of avoidance and repression, preventing persons from healing and progressing.
 

4. A strong need for control

 
It’s understandable that some people may struggle with control issues in their adult lives, especially if they felt helpless or vulnerable during their childhood.
 
This can happen if someone had an overbearing caregiver who didn’t let them make their own choices, expected too much from them, or didn’t take care of them properly. As adults, they might try to control everything in their life to feel more in control and less anxious or scared. This might be because they didn’t feel like they had control over their life when they were a child.
 
It’s important to remember that everyone’s experiences are different and it’s okay to seek help if you’re struggling with control issues.
 
 

5. Psychological Symptoms That Are Not Explained

 
Individuals with a history of developmental trauma may experience a range of psychological symptoms, including obsessive-compulsive behavior, intense mood swings, irritability, anger, depression, emotional numbing, or severe anxiety.
 
These symptoms can vary in intensity and may occur intermittently throughout the day. People with this type of trauma may attempt to “distract” themselves from these symptoms by denying or rationalizing them, or may resort to substance abuse or behavioral addictions as coping mechanisms. This can be a maladaptive way of trying to numb their symptoms.
 
 

What to do next if you’re suffering from emotional attachment trauma?

 
Everyone’s experience of healing from trauma is unique. It’s important to be aware of whether you have experienced childhood developmental trauma and how it may be affecting your relationships as an adult. Sometimes, the effects of trauma can be overwhelming and we may try to push them away or avoid them.
 
If you notice that you’re engaging in these behaviors, it’s important to seek help from a trauma therapist who can support you on your healing journey. Remember, you’re not alone and it’s never too late to start healing.
 

There are several ways that people can work to overcome emotional attachment trauma:

  1. Therapy: One of the most effective ways to overcome emotional attachment trauma is through therapy. A therapist can help you process your experiences, understand the impact of your trauma on your life, and develop coping strategies to manage symptoms.
  2. Support groups: Joining a support group of people who have had similar experiences can be a great way to find validation, empathy, and a sense of community.
  3. Mindfulness practices: Mindfulness practices such as meditation, pilates, prayer time with God or journaling can help you become more aware of your thoughts, emotions, and physical sensations, and develop a sense of spiritual connection and self-regulation.
  4. Trauma-focused cognitive-behavioral therapy (TF-CBT): This is a type of therapy that is specifically designed to help individuals process and recover from traumatic events.
  5. Building a safety net: Building a support system of people you trust, who are there for you when you need them, can help you feel more secure and safe in your life.

It’s important to remember that healing from emotional attachment trauma is a process and it may take time. It’s also important to find a therapist who is experienced in treating trauma, who you feel comfortable talking with, and who can help you develop a personalized treatment plan.

 
 
If you desire to work with me on healing your wounds and unlocking the aspects of you that were never realized so you can achieve more success in your life then head over to awebliss.com and join my weekly LIVE online mentorship calls.
 
 
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