What drives the impulse?
Impulses, sudden changes in thought and behaviour, can distract you from your goals. How do you understand your impulses better and make choices and get you closer to the success you desire?
Scientists are now finding just how much underlying factors like emotion drive your impulses and decisions. Called by the some “the shadow”, it’s that part of you that sometimes acts differently than you intend. It is the enemy of integrity.
When you want to be whole, feel fulfilled, be integrated, part of this is to have the power to choose aspects of your self that align with your goals and values.
In an article by Sensen Song and colleagues, published in May of 2017 in Nature, the science of emotions is further explored and explained. The results show just how strongly emotional events can influence the ability to control your actions. Wehn emotions interfere with judgments or action, this is a loss of cognitive control. (1)
In addition to the influence of emotions, stress alters your ability to act. Increased stress, especially that which is prolonged constantly for three weeks or more, reduces cognitive control. The amygdala becomes more reactive. Emotions get more intense and less easy to control. Reactions are less likely to match events that cause the reactions to take place. When this happens, it is partly because the entire nervous system is in a state of overwhelm. Balance is lost. (2)
Last, but not least, the balance of your nervous system and subconscious can be upset to the extent that your morals are changed. The effect influence on your moral values has been studied and explained. This information underlines the importance of learning to balance your subconscious emotions and your nervous system, so that you act according to a good sense of morals to help create a good and kind world, to create more happiness both in your self and others. (3)
RECLAIM COGNITIVE CONTROL
This is your life. Your moment. Your present. Make it mean something but applying the wellness science on cognitive control and emotional processing to achieve greater success, happiness, and be part of a better world.
1/ Take care of your amygdala:
remove your self from situations of high expressed emotion or violence
exercise, really sweat and move or at least one hour of walking per day
practice mindfulness for 3 minutes, 3 times a day
get enough sleep
stop the replay when you find the mind reviewing a high emotion over and over; this includes exciting emotions, which also excite the amygdala
minimize sugar, caffeine, refined carbohydrates, processed food
practice relaxation and calm
find a coach you can work well with to see your blind spots and change your ability to act positively in the world
2/ Write down your intentions. Your values that you want to live your actions by. Check in with these at least every morning. YOu can also check in with them several times a day on a piece of paper, your smartphone, your journal, and image on your screen saver that reminds you. Notice if you are aligned and integral, or not. If not, ask your self what is going on for you, your mood, your emotion. Figure out how to shift to a better state.
3/ Cultivate healthy relationships. Attempt a non-judgmental stance. Compassion, kindness, happiness, gratitude, acceptance, forgiveness - these really do change how your relationships run. It matters more how you say something, rather than what you say. Communication is 7% verbal, the rest non-verbal. Cultivate love, respect, honesty, honour, beauty, kindness. Be vulnerable, use few words to explain your self, as for what you need to feel closer to those you love. If you are fiercely independent, ask for support, even in a small way. If you are highly dependent and often needy, try offering support and taking a turn at being the listener. Balance it out. Harmonize. Relationships are the wealth of life.
4/ Sleep. (4)
5/ Reward your self. With healthy things. Savour these.
Wishing you the best, always,
Dr. M. ~
(1) Song et al. 2017 The influence of emotional interference on cognitive control: A meta-analysis of neuroimaging studies using the emotional Stroop task. In: Nature May 2017. Download pdf
(2) Ressler. 2010. Amygdala Activity, Fear, and Anxiety: Modulation by Stress. In: Biological Psychiatry. Download pdf
(4) Pilcher et al. 2015. Interactions between sleep habits and self-control. In: Frontiers Human Neuroscience. Download pdf