Impulse Control

My other passion – other than self-development – is dogs and I attended a course last month on impulse control. It is such a fascinating topic and it struck me, as I listened to the excellent lecturer talk about the research in this area, that it applied as much to people as it does to dogs.

There are so many ways that we can be compared to dogs in terms of learning, motivation and drive so this will be a recurring theme in my blogs. The ultimate compliment to people in my opinion.

We all have different reasons for doing or not doing things but ultimately both people and dogs work best on a reward based system. We repeat the behaviours that we get rewarded for and stop doing the behaviours for which we get no reward. Delaying a “quick” reward to get a bigger reward requires impulse control.

Both dogs and humans can make a choice to exercise impulse control. For example, resisting yummy cakes in order to have a slim figure. However, studies have shown that we only have a finite amount of energy for resisting temptation so when we impulse control this depletes the reserves for the next time we have to use restraint, as I am sure anyone who has ever gone on a diet can testify.

The answer is to build energy, drive and motivation …

“..human research suggests that following the period of self-restraint, if there is a meaningful reward, this seems to change the situation enough so that a good deal of willpower is restored for the next task that follows.”

Stanley Coren, Psychology Today

This is where hypnotherapy comes in – it helps to make the reward meaningful. Personal motivations can be examined and focussed on to make sure that they are more important to you than short term pleasure and the drive and energy to achieve these goals can be boosted using visualisation techniques.

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