Want to increase the happiness in your life? Improve your self control. A study from the University of Chicago defined self-control as "the ability to override or change one's inner responses" and to refrain from acting on impulses; they discovered that people who are better able to resist impulses report being more satisfied with their lives. Psychotherapist and life coach Didi Zahariades, MA, joined us to share a few ways to do just that.
- Fact 1: Those with low self-control often have a bigger struggle with conflict; emotional distress; and bad moods.
- Fact 2: Those with HIGHER self-control have less conflict & emotional distress in making decisions & choices. Hence an increase in life satisfaction & happiness.
- Refrain from Acting on Impulses: Quickest way to improve your overall happiness. This provides time & space to focus on long-term goals as opposed to a quick reaction. It is a reflection of a person who knows herself & is able to focus on what is important to her. Improved self-control means you avoid creating situations in which your goals conflict which creates fewer choices between short-term pleasure and long-term pain. This results in fewer negative emotions. You are literally setting up your life to avoid problems.
- Change Your Perception of Self-Control: Instead of seeing self-control connected to deprivation& sacrifice; recognize it is about managing conflicting goals. You can minimize your internal conflict when you use your personal limits to remove the choices.In turn, this boosts your well-being because it decreases your internal conflict. Example: Instead of focusing on the difficulties of exercise, focus on the benefits! When you change your view of your goals from constant self-denial to focusing on the satisfaction of attaining your goals; this shift improves your daily pleasure. After all, it’s great to be healthy, thin, and living your dreams.
- Prepare to Enjoy Short-term Happiness& Better Moods The more self-control people reported having, the more satisfied in daily life. This is totally opposite to what researchers expected. People with more self-control are typically happier in the short-term. Joy comes from more good moods! Those who showed the greatest self-control reported more good moods and fewer bad ones. This is often because a person doesn’t expose himself to a bad situation. Although the person with strong self-control may no longer be the life of the party, in the long run she will be the happier person.You are setting yourself up to be Happy!
- Pay Attention to your Environment This may be the grocery store where you find you have entered the chips aisle or as big as a full vacation to Vegas when you suddenly remember you aren’t a good gambler. This isn’t about denying yourself; it is about controlling your own environment. When you increase your self-control, you will find that your experiences change and bad situations are no longer an issue. You don’t eat the second piece of cake because it isn’t in your house… the battle doesn’t occur so you don’t have to win it!
- No Guilt for Poor Choices! Ahhh… when you increase your self-control you decrease your personal guilt. The more self-control the more satisfied you are with your life. You let go of the internal battle of your choices and in turn lose the guilt for making a bad choice. You no longer face the guilt of temptations and this provides the luxury of both short & long term happiness.
For more helpful advice, head to Didi's website.