Barnabas Center
Barnabas Center

Self-Control as a Choice by Suzanne Stangland MA, LPC

Anxiety, depression and many other struggles plague numerous people on a daily basis. Various skills and techniques can be very helpful in learning to cope with these different issues; however, there is another important concept to consider as well.  Is there an additional question one needs to be asking themselves about how they can work to stay positively focused when facing negative thoughts and feelings?  Yes! It can be a question of self-control.  Most people probably tend to think of self-control in terms of saying no to that cheesecake or picking a green vegetable instead of a carbohydrate—and it can be.  On the other hand, in the case of negative thinking, self-control is recognizing that the individual has power in the troubling moment to steer themselves away from the problem and into a better and often more accurate way of thinking.

For instance, if someone is worrying about something out of their control it is usually within that person’s ability to turn their thoughts toward skills they may have learned to aid them in the situation.  To do this takes self-control.  The question is does the individual stay committed and exercise self-control in the effort to thwart their negative thoughts?  Does the person utilize self-control in holding themselves to the positive, accurate thought life or do they let the doubt and negative self-messages stay in control?  Often this is not an easy task, but it is one that can improve with practice and perseverance.  By understanding the power the individual has to utilize their own self-control to battle their issues empowers the individual greatly!  Once the person starts persisting in the mindset that they can employ their own self-control to improve and better their circumstance, they can really turn a corner for the better in their own treatment as well as their well-being.

Written By: Suzanne Stangland MA, LPC

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