Today I messed up. I’m feeling remorse and guilt. Someone felt bad because of me. It is what it is. Sometimes I can be garbage. When things of this nature happen, I take a good hard look at myself. It hurts and you feel bad but it’s important to do it. Understand that you should never act that way again. That there is a consequence to every action. When you have BPD, impulsivity can be an issue. Sometimes you do things that you regret later. It’s never too late to learn.
I wrote an article on How to improve your self-control but I would like to talk further about this.
According to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5), impulsive behaviors are a hallmark of BPD. Impulsivity is broadly defined as actions without foresight that are poorly conceived, prematurely expressed, unnecessarily risky, and inappropriate to the situation. Impulsivity is associated with undesirable, rather than desirable, outcomes.
Everything and everyone is telling you not to do it but you still do it. It’s like an urge that you have. It happens less and less these days. I feel very disappointed in myself when it happens. So I searched for ways to be less impulsive and this is what I found:
New research shows that people can train their brains to become less impulsive, which could pave the way for new treatments for addictions to gambling, drugs or alcohol, as well as impulse-control disorders, such as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).
The study from researchers at the Universities of Exeter and Cardiff assessed whether asking people to stop making simple movements while in a simulated gambling situation affected how risky or cautious they were when betting.
They found that avoiding certain actions can lessen our impulse to do them. This is very important for addiction and, as the article mentions, impulse disorders. Easier said than done, right? It works to a degree but I believe that it would work with addiction. If you are a cigarette smoker and you avoid smoking for a while and then a little more afterward and gradually increase the amount of time that you’re not smoking, that the way to go. Some people can just say “I’ve had enough of this” and just quit in one day. They probably get in that mindset of quitting that it’s sometimes so hard to achieve. For some people, that day never comes.
I often tell other people who are suffering with intense, extreme emotions and urges that no matter how intense, extreme, or strong it is, it will pass. Not only will it pass, but you also do NOT have to follow through on any impulse to act during that time.
Often when we are in a heightened state (especially when we are emotionally sensitive), the actions we feel like taking – those immediate fixes to quell the pain and calm our nerves in that moment – end up being things that hurts us – either physically or by sabotaging our relationships and life circumstances.
I think these two paragraphs are very enlightening and they come from someone who actually has BPD. The urge will pass and we will be rewarded by our behavior, maybe not in money or anything but in our conscience. That alone is something that contributes to the well-being of a person.
Learn more about mindfulness practices. Becoming aware of your feelings, and learning to connect your impulsiveness to your thoughts, emotions and urges will help you better control your actions. Mindfulness helps by allowing you some distance from your impulses, offering you the opportunity to choose to act upon your impulses or not. When you notice an urge, articulate that urge mentally to yourself before acting on it. For example, “I am angry that my partner just said that, and I want to criticize her.” Follow this with a more constructive response, such as, “I can try to calm down.”
Mindfulness means to focus on what’s going on inside yourself, and it may take time to notice what’s going on in your body before you act impulsively rather than afterwards.
Yoga or daily exercise also helps. I find that when I was doing meditation every day, impulsive acts weren’t happening so often. I guess I have to go back to meditating every day. I notice that I am more irritable and that I have less patience which is somewhat good, in one or two senses. Having less patience is negative overall.
Understand how impulsivity functions in your life. Sometimes being impulsive can have positive as well as negative effects. For example, if you have a hard time making decisions, you may find yourself making last minute decisions as a means of avoiding the anxiety you feel when trying to make a thoughtful decision.
- If you’re experiencing benefits from acting impulsively, try to find more effective ways of achieving this benefit.
- Remember that you can still be spontaneous even if you’re less impulsive. Being less impulsive doesn’t mean your life will be dull and conventional. It just means that you’ll be more in control of what you choose to spend your money, time, and attention on.
Dissecting our problems, alone or with a therapist, is always a good idea. We need to understand how impulsivity functions in our lives. And that last part is very important. I notice that some people with BPD like having BPD. I’m not judging, it’s that I’ve always wanted to not have it and so do other people. You would still be a wonderful person without BPD. Same goes for impulsiveness. Even if it has positive effects on your life, try to avoid it. There are better ways to things.
Engage in activities that will calm you down. Calming activities vary person to person, but might include listening to guided meditations, calming music, or doing deep breathing exercises. Getting more relaxed can help you avoid acting impulsively..
This is an excellent idea and I will definitely do this. Guided meditations are so helpful for so many different goals and situations. You just need headphones and your phone, tablet or pc. Find a quiet place, dim the lights or turn them off, get a cozy blanket and lay down on the floor, or a sofa or bed. Alternatively, you can sit down on a chair or sit on the lotus position on the floor, with your back straight. Deep breathing exercises are very good as well, though I don’t it often. Mindfulness or breathing meditations are my go-to ones.
Consider cognitive-behavioral therapy. Cognitive-behavioral therapy, or CBT, helps a person focus on connecting their thoughts and feelings with their behaviors. CBT is a common treatment for anxiety and impulse disorders, among others. The goal of CBT is to identify the thoughts that often result in impulsive activity.
- Impulsive behavior is often the result of automatic thoughts, which are the thoughts that your mind produces as an immediate reaction to certain situations. These thoughts can be negative and may lead you to make poor decisions. CBT helps you to identify these automatic thought patterns and reframe them in new ways.
- A therapist or behavioral specialist can help you explore the ways that CBT might work in your life!
CBT for some cases, DBT (which was based on CBT) for people with BPD. I found that DBT was very helpful and I was less impulsive at the time. If you don’t have the money to do DBT but you have enough for a regular therapist, you can ask your therapist to do exercises with you, by using a DBT book of your choice. If you can’t really pay for sessions, try the book. There are used ones on Amazon that are cheaper and ebooks are even cheaper. If there’s a will, there’s a way. There are other options but you don’t need me to tell you, do you?
In the end, my advice is all of the above and an emphasis on meditation. There are many types of meditation so you should be able to find one that suits you best.
Are you impulsive? How do you deal with it? Share your tips in the comment section.
I hope you are all okay.