According to the Hindu tradition self-control is associated with our third chakra located in the area behind our navel and solar plexus. This chakra when balanced allows us to have control over our thoughts, emotional responses, set healthy boundaries and be at peace with ourselves.
Physiologically the area of the brain where self-control is correlated is in the area of the dorsolateral prefrontal cortext (dIPFC), somewhere in the frontal lobe. It is where we generate intentional action, make decisions between alternatives and bring our attention to our intentions.
So, before we continue, lets give these areas some healing.
Place one hand across your solar plexus whilst massaging your forehead and temples with your other hand. Let the warmth and loving attention melt away the tension. These are two of the most common areas to hold self-control related stress resulting in headaches and digestive disturbances.
If we feel like we cannot control our own behaviour we feel powerless and tense.
Let’s explore self-control in a little more detail…
Self-control is the ability to resist temptations and impulses.
It is often challenged but can be strengthened by our (unhealthy and healthy) habits.
It usually starts with being aware of our behaviours, thoughts and emotions.
It is felt in those moments when we can pause, stop and be calm.
If we linger in this space a little longer it enables us to choose our actions, thoughts and feelings instead of letting them choose us.
Without it we find ourselves doing, thinking and feeling in complete misalignment with our values and beliefs and self-sabotaging our well-being.
Without it we over indulge, eating too much of the foods that taste good but don’t loving support our beautiful bodies.
Without it we buy too much stuff we don’t even need or use.
Without it we get stuck in being busy, constantly checking Facebook, worrying about the future or replaying conversations from the past that make our moods plummet.
Self-control doesn’t need to be hard to cultivate.
There have been many previous studies which have shown that self-control is a limited resource and overuse can lead to depletion.
But the latest studies in psychology claim that this is no longer the case and it is up to you.
Being self-controlled doesn’t need to be exhausting unless you choose for it to be.
It is your choice.
Try focusing on mindfulness instead of self-control.
If you have experimented with mindfulness, the simple act of being aware and focused on the present moment, you may have discovered that it makes the topic of self-control slightly less significant.
Mindfulness gives you wisdom from being aware of what you are thinking, feeling and doing.
It is this non-judgemental awareness that is the catalyst to the changes that you need.
You will find that mindfulness will spark changes in your life with ease.
You might find yourself eating, buying, watching, reading and exploring only what matters to you and doing more of what supports instead of sabotages your well-being.
So, focus on mindfulness instead of self-control. Take the pressure off trying not to do something and just observe yourself gently and non-judgementally.
Money + Wellness Tip: When making decisions consider extending the psychological distance between you and what you are about to eat, buy, do, think or feel. Ask yourself how will this affect my well-being tomorrow? Or In a weeks’ time or even a year from now?