Tip of the Day: Self-Control

by Eubie on August 26, 2013

We are struggling… oh, are we struggling… with self-control. Moment-to-moment our thoughts are zeroed in on a cigarette, any cigarette, so long as it’s ours to smoke. This is annoying. As all of us know, one of the secrets to happiness is self-control, especially the ability to delay gratification–without those moments of delay becoming waking nightmares. How to do it? Well, there is a little trick you can use, or so says headshrinker (or brain analyzer… whatever) Walter Mischel, who learned a few tricks from conducting his marshmallow test with kids back in the 1960s; chiefly, focus on the ‘cool’ and turn away from the ‘hot.’ That is, focus on ‘cold’ characteristics of the object of your desire (which, we’re guessing, are those things that do not correlate with what it is about the object you desire) instead of the ‘hot’ characteristics (which… well, you know, turn it around is all). For example, in order to delay eating the marshmallow, don’t think about that sweet, gooey tastiness; think of its surface smoothness or its shape. Anyway, give it try today with some issue of self-control (maybe food… or a cigarette!) and see if it works for you. If it does let us know. We’re grasping at straws right now.

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