Five Ways To Increase Your Mental Control

Five ways to increase your mental control

We call it mental control, self-control or self-determination. Whatever you call it, it’s a very misleading concept. Westerners have a real obsession with controlling everything, even themselves. However, it is impossible to achieve this goal in its entirety. Of course, that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try to improve ourselves.

One thing we can do though, we can learn how to manage our emotions in a more intelligent way. This implies increasing mental control over our irrational impulses. We all have some kind of wild willpower within us. It helps us to be brave, but it also plays tricks on us, especially when we’re angry or scared.

There are ways to tame and channel those violent impulses that sometimes overwhelm us. It is normal for them to come up every now and then to be at the helm for a while. However, when these emotions always take control, it becomes a problem. At that point, we must stop what we are doing and exercise our mental control. Here are some simple steps to help you improve your self-control:

1. Self-knowledge increases your mental control

We all think we know ourselves. However, this is not always the case. Every person is different and we can also change depending on our mood and situation. People are so complex. Many of us cannot identify our deepest motivations or describe our motives for certain types of behavior and habits.

Woman from whose finger comes a brain that gives light

It’s not uncommon to hear expressions like “I wasn’t myself” when someone does something reprehensible. But he was himself, maybe he just didn’t know that side of himself. By increasing self-knowledge, we also increase mental control. We know how to react to different situations and can be prepared for them.

2. Disengage the autopilot

Going through life on ‘automatic pilot’ is not at all the same as real life. We go from activity to activity, from one behavior to another, without knowing why. We feel that life just drags us along and we don’t know what the destination is.

It is impossible to be aware of everything all the time: we would have to give up our mental life. We would collapse. What we can do, however, is to stop thinking about where we are and whether we are on the path we really want to walk. These breaks allow for more awareness and more mental control.

3. Learn to Stop

It’s hard to learn how to stop an impulse. This is especially true if we were not taught the importance of impulse regulation as a child. We may come from violent or dramatic families. So we have learned to act without thinking when we are touched by a very intense emotion.

Woman closing her eyes to relax and increase her mental control

Learning to regulate these intrusive emotions and express them the way we want is a big step forward. It is a habit that can be difficult to learn. Our brains, especially our prefrontal cortex, are not fully developed until after puberty. This means that our impulses will be very difficult to control until then.

Controlling our emotions means making a choice. Do we release the emotion, or do we force ourselves to pause and wait for it to pass before acting? In doing so, we gain a lot, especially in the area of ​​social relations.

4. Chew and Digest Frustration

Everyone has experienced frustration (feeling that reality doesn’t live up to our expectations or when we try and fail). Some frustrations are small, others huge. A love that didn’t happen, a job we didn’t get, a bill that can’t be paid…

The reasons can be many. We are all immersed in a reality that forces us into constant frustration. It’s normal. It’s about whether we accept it or not.

It is not easy to learn how to accept, chew and digest frustrations. However, if we don’t learn this, frustration can turn into anger. This anger then takes over our hearts and dominates our minds and our lives. It’s also easy for us to become like the people called “drift heads,” who explode at every little thing. Don’t let frustration lead you there.

5. Get out of your comfort zone

Leaving our comfort zone offers enormous benefits. One of the most important is that it helps us learn to be flexible and adapt. This in turn stimulates the development of our intelligence, both logically and emotionally. So eventually, almost as a side effect, we become more tolerant of our own emotions.

Woman walking on feathers

We are not machines. We don’t always have to ‘work’ correctly. The issue of mental control should always be seen as relative, especially when there is a lot of pressure on it. The control of our emotions increases when the fear decreases and especially when we have learned strategies to express the energy behind our emotions in a healthy way. 

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