Develop the emotional intelligence skill of “self control”

Posted by Roxanne Chugg

This week we examine the skill of “self control”, the final in a series of blogs by Roxanne during May-July.

GENOS Emotional Intelligence Model

Emotional self-control is the skill of effectively controlling strong emotions that you experience. This skill is similar to emotional self-management. However, where emotional self-management is about proactively managing your moods and emotions, emotional self-control is about how you react, and how reactive you are to strong emotions.

It involves being able to:

  • Control your temper
  • Remain productive when experiencing strong emotions such as anxiety, anger or excitement
  • Remaining calm and focused in stressful situations

Strong emotions are important but they can over-rule intelligent thoughts and purposeful responses to situations or events causing them. This skill helps leaders be centered when experiencing strong emotions, rather than reacting to them. Have you ever sent a harshly worded e-mail in a moment of haste? Raised your voice in anger at a colleague when a more measured response could have been used?

Self-control is restraint practiced over one's own emotions, impulses, or desires. It is the ability to make positive choices, to think before acting. Without self-control, we say and do things impulsively which often leads to trouble. We need to pause and think of the consequences that may result from our reactive behaviours.

Developing your emotional self-control will help a leader to harness the productive elements of strong emotions and demonstrate the best possible responses to them.

What are the benefits of improving self control?

  • It keeps in check self-destructive, addictive, obsessive and compulsive behavior
  • Gives you a sense of mastery over your life, and brings balance into your life
  • Self-control helps to keep over-emotional responses in check or moderation
  • Self-control eliminates the feeling helplessness and being too dependent on others
  • It helps to manifest mental and emotional detachment, which contributes to peace of mind
  • It enables you to control moods and reject negative feelings and thoughts
  • Self-control strengthens self-esteem, confidence, inner strength, self-mastery and willpower
  • It enables you to take charge of your life
  • It makes you a responsible and trustworthy human being

What are the obstacles for developing effective self control?

  • Lack of knowledge and understanding what self-control really is
  • Strong and uncontrolled emotional responses
  • Reacting to outside stimuli, without thinking first
  • Lack of discipline and willpower
  • Lack of the desire to change and improve
  • Considering self-control as a limiting and unpleasant activity
  • The belief that self control eliminates fun
  • Lack of faith in oneself and in one's abilities

How do you develop your skills in self control?

First you need to identify in what areas of your life you need to gain more self-control. Where do you find yourself lacking in self-control?

Try the following:

  • Identifying the emotions that lack control, such as anger, dissatisfaction, unhappiness, resentment, pleasure or fear
  • Identify the thoughts and beliefs that push you to behave in uncontrolled manner
  • Several times a day, especially when you need to display self control, repeat for a minute or two one of the following affirmations:
    • I am fully in control of myself
    • I have the power to choose my emotions and thoughts
    • Self-control brings me inner strength and leads me to success
    • I am in control of my reactions I am in charge of my behavior
    • I am gaining control of my emotions
    • I am the maser of my life
    • Day by day my ability to control my feelings and thoughts is increasing
    • Self-control is fun and pleasure
  • Visualise yourself acting with self-control and self-restraint. Take one of the instances where you usually act with lack of control, and visualise that you are acting calmly and with self-mastery
  • Your self control will improve considerably, if you work on developing and strengthening your willpower and self-discipline through appropriate exercises. This is actually the most important step for developing self control
  • By developing and strengthening your willpower and self discipline, you develop and strengthen your self control.

What’s your plan to master self control?