How to Slow Down Impulsive Decisions & Improve Your Relationships

Impulsive decisions can wreak havoc on your boundary setting and relationships. When you act without thinking, you can contradict the very limit you were attempting to set with someone. This leaves you appearing to negate what you previously said or did for others. Understandably, people will question whether you have integrity or if you can be trusted.

People in today’s world are more impulsive. Many of us react to whatever is seen or said, without pausing to think first. We expect and some of us demand, instant gratification. I see impulsive behaviors on social media, whether it is reactions to posts, posting without thinking and even expecting an instant answer or response through messages. Sometimes people get blocked, ghosted or impulsively cut out of others’ lives.

Impulsivity as a Symptom

Addictive behaviors thrive on impulsivity. This can include people pleasing, social media, along with any type of substance or alcohol abuse. Many mental health issues feature impulsivity as a symptom. Some are bipolar/mania, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, Cluster B personality disorders (borderline personality disorder, antisocial personality disorder, narcissistic personality disorder, etc.) and impulse control disorders. You can also find people act impulsively when they are anxious or experiencing trauma. If you are suffering from a mental health issue, treatment is available to help decrease these kinds of impulsive behaviors.  

It’s Not All Bad

As with everything, there is a healing and a destructive side. The healing side of impulsivity is taking action whereas you wouldn’t have before. This push can help you step outside of the box and explore new ways of being. Much of our intuition and gut feelings lead us to take immediate action without thought. It is important to trust these drives, which protect and guide us.

What Fuels your Impulsive Behavior?

Often people act impulsively to get rid of anxiety or anger. By acting to remove your discomfort, you end up creating more discomfort.

Ask yourself;

Is my impulsivity from a learned behavior through society, a mental health condition, people pleasing or a combination of these?

Ways to Decrease Impulsive People Pleasing

Growing up and sometimes as an adult, I felt compelled to jump in and help, whenever a need arose. I automatically said yes to all requests, as if I didn’t have a choice. I did not take the time to consider if this was something I wanted to do. This is how impulsive people pleasing cuts you off from your own feelings and thoughts. 

Whether you identify as empath, empathic or a people pleaser, here are some ways to decrease impulsivity and connect within. The next time someone asks you for a favor or help, try these phrases to give yourself the space to process;

1. Let me sleep on it.
2. I will consider it.
3. Give me some time to check my schedule.
4. Let me get back to you. 

These phrases give you the option to make a choice based on what you want. In this space, check in with your body and mind. Observe your thoughts and feelings. 

Ask yourself;

Does this feel right for me? 
What does my gut tell me?

Ways to Decrease Reactivity in all Situations

When you feel triggered by another person or situation, this is the time to not respond. It may go against everything you feel within and seem wrong, but do not do it. Create a space of calmness and try these activities instead;

Write out all your thoughts and feelings uncensored. Shred the page.

Talk to a trusted friend and ask their opinion.

Go for a walk.

Practice deep breathing and stay in the present moment.

Pray.

Final Thoughts

The more you can build awareness, take responsibility and be specific, the better you can manage impulsivity. When you react out of fear or anger, take responsibility for your part. In unhealthy relationships, we contribute something to keep them going. Look at your own patterns and heal these.

You do not have to say yes to every request on your time and energy. If you are repeating your boundaries multiple times to the same person, it is time to detach and possibly disconnect from this person. You do not need or require another’s permission or approval to heal yourself. Remember, we are all on our own journey of healing. Some people will not be traveling with us.

You do not have to share every thought that comes into your mind. In fact, it is often best when you don’t.

Lisa Hutchison LMHC is a licensed psychotherapist and writing coach. She works for caring professionals, who want to prevent or treat compassion fatigue. Her specialty is teaching stress management, assertiveness and boundary setting. Lisa is the Amazon bestselling author of I Fill My Cup: A Journal for Compassionate Helpers and the kindle book Setting Ethical Limits for Caring & Competent Professionals. Get a FREE 10 page E-book; Why Compassionate People Run Out of Energy and What You Can Do About It at http://www.lisahutchison.net

Check out my YouTube Channel: Lisa Hutchison LMHC

Is your Helping Interfering with your Happiness?

Whether you are a professional or born helper, it feels good to assist other people. It is wonderful to extend acts of kindness as it increases positive energy into the world. There are times we all overextend and take helping too far.

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What are some causes of over-helping?

Empathic helpers feel too much. Sensitive souls often impulsively jump in and fix a situation because it is uncomfortable to witness and feel another’s struggle in your body system. You are also susceptible to manipulation in the form of guilt. Due to this internal overwhelm you can do too much for others.

It is a way to not grow into your own power as a light being. Stepping into your power can feel scary because you have witnessed other’s misuse of power. You can rest assured that most empathic helpers do not misuse power for this very reason. The fact that you are aware of your power and how it can influence others positively or negatively means you are ahead of the game.

When you avoid your light and overly focus on others, it is a form of self-sabotage. All of your energy goes towards those you help and none is left for you. Also, overly focusing on one person leaves no energy for anyone else in your life and this causes problems in other relationships.

It can be a form of addiction although it is not an official clinical diagnosis. When you help others it releases positive chemicals in your brain (much like a drug). The more positive attention you receive for acting helpful, the more it fuels this connection. Similar to a drug, what once felt good often turns into something you feel you need to do yet does not bring you any satisfaction or good feeling. The problem of helping in this regard develops when you reach out to help others compulsively instead of sitting with and feeling your sadness, anger or fear.

Feelings of insecurity or inferiority; stemming from the belief that others will not like or love you because you are not helping them. People pleasing causes an overextension of helping and is a way to receive positive attention for what you do, not for who you are. Since this feeling of positivity is external the good feeling is dependent on other’s reactions and does not last.

Letting go of control

We often try to control when we feel worried about someone else. A way to release this grip is to focus on an opposite emotion, such as gratitude. Rather than thinking about what you want to change about a person, remember what you already have. This act of accepting will increase your happiness and allow you to see that the best way to help is to nurture positive feelings and love in your relationships.

Finding Balance

You do not want to give up on being helpful but rather find a balance. Some ways to do this is to become aware of your patterns, set limits and develop boundaries. Assertiveness training and therapy can help you develop these essential skills that every helper needs.

Being a helper is what you do, it is not who you are as a person. It is how you channel and express divine love. There are times as a helper you need to edit and do less in order to allow the story of your relationship to unfold. Helping is about giving and receiving which means at times it is about sitting back and allowing someone to do something for you because it helps them feel good.

365 Life Shifts: Pivotal Moments that Changed Everything

14063987_10153933148717945_5923936462287096960_nI have written about my own healing journey from empathic over helping in 365 Life Shifts: Pivotal Moments that Changed Everything called Back to me: honoring my limits. I admitted in print that I did not know how to help out, I only knew how to overdo. Over the years, I tied myself up in knots trying to do it all. I wrote about this and how I learned to support myself in healthy ways without overextending. Buy this book to read this story and 200 other author stories about pivotal moments that changed everything.

 

Blog tour…

You may also enjoy these other blogs posted today from these 2 fellow co -authors in this book!

Fiona Louise – www.fiona-louise.com

Maureen Hollmeyer –  www.transitional-guidance.com

More about Lisa Hutchison LMHC. Lisa works for empathic healers who often get drained after their helping efforts find practical ways to refill and recharge their energy with counseling and angel card readings. The chaos of life and other people drains your energy overtime, learn how to release it, feel energized and empowered. Click here for your FREE 10 page E-book called 8 Simple Things That Release Chaos from Your Life Now!