Impulsivity. This is the bane of my existence. It’s what drives so many of my decisions, even the smallest ones. I can’t seem to go at least once a day without doing something impulsive. Shopping at 3 AM is my most destructive. I’ll also drink too much when I do drink. I just can’t stop myself, so it’s a good thing it’s a rare thing that I do drink. When Connor and I went to go get a new mattress, I decided I had to have this bedframe they had. Even though it doesn’t match a single thing in our bedroom. Thankfully we could cancel it before it came. I’ll be doing something important like writing or some work for one of the board of directors I’m on and get the impulse to do something else. I’ll be cleaning one thing and stop and remember I have this other thing to clean. I can’t finish something all the way through without changing halfway. It’s a problem. I get really excited when I’m talking to someone and will very often break in and interrupt. This is something I feel the worst about. My last therapy session with the intensive outpatient group, we went over some ways to help my impulsivity. I also researched a few other articles, which I’ll post at the end of the post for you to look at.
The first one I was taught is mindfulness. If you realize your mood and what you’re doing, your much more easily going to recognize when you’re doing something impulsive. You have to be aware of your mood as well as triggers that make you want to do something that is spur of the moment. If you’re able to recognize these feelings, this will bring you to the next step.
When you recognize you’re in danger of being impulsive, step back a minute. Start counting down to 10 if you can. Try and get up to a minute of not doing the thing. Then eventually get to 5 minutes. Eventually you’ll be able to make it an entire day. I know with shopping, I will add things to my cart and then turn off the site. I won’t go back. Then I get the thrill of “buying” but then my wallet doesn’t hurt. At night is my dangerous time, so I also have a game I love on my phone that I’ll play instead of going on amazon. It’s saved me hundreds of dollars in things I don’t need at all.
This brings me to my next thing. I know my risk is shopping at night. Well, that’s the biggest issue for a lot of reasons. So, you need to know what your issue is and be able to work through it. You can’t prevent impulsivity if you don’t know what it is you’re doing. You have to pay close attention to your habits and your activities in order to find what you do. Once you know what you do, you need to find out what causes these; what are the risky behaviors that cause your impulsivity. I know if I drink more than 2 glasses of wine, I will have a really hard time stopping. You then have to plan for this risky behavior. For drinking, I try and only drink wine at dinner and around Connor, since he keeps me in line by reminding me I don’t want to get sloshed. Because I don’t. I’m a sloppy, icky drunk.
These are the main things I learned through therapy. I encourage you to look through these articles if it’s something you struggle with. Perhaps you can get a few ideas to help you through it.
What are your impulses you struggle with? What do you do about them?
Don’t forget to share the blog, maybe others struggle from the same issue; it’s very common!