Most of us could benefit from developing our self-control. Certainly we don’t want to become unfeeling robots with no sense of spontaneity, but many of us would be better off if we could resist that donut, telling off our boss, or a third cocktail. Self-control is particularly important if you are an addict in recovery. You have done the hard work. You have admitted to having a problem, gotten help and now are on the road to recovery. Your challenge now is to resist the urges to relapse.
Tips To Improve Self-Control For An Addict In Recovery
Learn how to improve your self-control so that you don’t go off the rails.
- Eat – Psychology researchers have found that blood glucose (sugar) levels play an important role in the ability to exert self-control. Studies have shown that when you have to use self-control in a situation, you deplete your blood glucose levels. If you have to keep using self-control without replenishing your blood sugar, eventually your willpower will run out. This finding does not mean that you can substitute food and sugar for your addiction. It does mean that you need to eat a healthy, well-balanced and regular diet to have good self-control. Eat small, regular meals and have a snack on hand at all times for when your resolve starts to wane.
- Plan ahead – Strengthen your self-control by planning in advance for tricky situations. If you’re going to a party, for example, have a strategy ready to avoid drinking. This might mean bringing a friend who knows you don’t want to drink and who will help to remind you of that fact. Or you might have a response planned for anyone who asks if you want a drink. Your plan might be to have a club soda with a lime so that it looks like you’re drinking and fewer people will ask if you wouldn’t rather have a cocktail.
- Practice self-control – Researchers have found that practicing self-control can improve your overall willpower. Just as exercising a certain muscle will make it stronger, so too will exercise of self-control. Resisting the urge to relapse is your biggest concern, but practice using self-control in other areas of your life and you will find it easier to resist drugs or alcohol. Start an exercise regimen that requires you to get up early every day, give up sugary treats, or try setting other goals that you have to meet.
- Exercise – Self-control researchers also found that physical exercise helps. Having a healthy body seems to have a powerful impact on the mind. Exercising regularly has helped people improve willpower in all areas of their lives including eating better, studying more for academics, drinking and smoking less and even spending less money.
- Meditate – Meditation is an ancient Eastern spiritual practice and one that many Westerners have discovered. Meditation means sitting still, clearing the mind and focusing on breathing or an affirmation. This practice helps to reduce stress, boost energy and makes you more mindful. Being mindful means being aware of your body, mind, mood and cravings. When you are more relaxed and aware, you will be better able to exert self-control in any situation.
Everyone Can Improve Their Self-Control – Even You!
Sometimes it seems as if some people are just born with better self-control than others. There may be some truth to this, but modern research has found that any one of us can work toward having improved self-control. As an addict in recovery, you owe it to yourself to make the effort to have greater willpower. Doing so could save you from a dangerous relapse or from sliding backward in your recovery.