When Impulses are Strong

by Rachel Miller

May 27, 2022

ABOVE : Michael Starkie

When you feel stressed, low energy, exhausted–or when all you want to do is mindlessly consume some food or entertainment to distract and comfort you–it can make you feel powerless, but you’re not. It doesn’t matter how strongly you feel something, it’s just a feeling. Feeling this way doesn’t say anything about you or predict what you will do.

Consider:

  • Don’t let this feeling trouble you. It can feel like the feelings are in control—they’re not. The feelings can’t control your actions.
    • You may feel worn out and powerless to control your impulses. You may feel like you have no control, but you do.
    • It doesn’t matter how strongly you feel; it only matters what you do.

  • Remind yourself that this feeling is just a sensation–a signal to some deeper need. Ask yourself:
    • What do you really want and need?
    • Stimulation or entertainment?
    • Comfort? To relax? To rest your mind?
    • To stop moving so quickly from one thing to the next? To take time for yourself?
    • Decide what you really need, then do one small thing to get you there.

  • Focus on what you can do.
    • No matter how tired, how wanting, how craving, how anything that you feel, just focus on one small thing you can do.
    • Chip away at the task before you, one tiny notch at a time. Focus on one small step, then another. Keep going. Baby steps.

  • Take it one hour at a time.
    • Focus on getting through this hour. Then the next, then the next, until bedtime.
    • All you have to do is get through one decision, one choice at a time. You will make it through. Never forget: it doesn’t matter how strongly you feel; it only matters what you do.

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