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9 Ways Mature People Deal With Negative Impulsive Thoughts

9 Ways Mature People Deal With Negative Impulsive Thoughts

Most of our days are filled with random thoughts. We have thousands of thoughts per day. Many of those thoughts we are facing are negative impulsive thoughts. Deepak Chopra was quoted in an article about meditation, saying that we may have between 60,000 – 80,000 different thoughts per day. How many of those are negative thoughts?

Sometimes the negative thoughts are impulsive, intrusive, and overpowering. Sometimes we act on those thoughts that do not seem like “us” or part of our character and we deeply regret it later. It could be something as simple as blurting out the first critical word to your best friend, really losing control with your children by screaming or yelling, or even something more. It could also be taking a financial risk that you know is not the best decision, or something like feeling the need to drink more than you should, or use drugs because of those negative impulsive thoughts.

We are unable to control our thoughts, but we do have the power and ability to control how we react to and deal with our thoughts, especially negative impulsive thoughts. Here are 9 ways mature people deal with negative impulsives.

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1. They use the H.A.L.T. method. 

The thought could be, “Go shopping and buy that outfit”, even when they don’t have the extra money. It could be, “Go eat that big fat greasy cheeseburger”, even when they are trying to eat healthy. For someone that struggles with addiction issues, the thought could be, “Just go stop off at that convenience store right now and buy a beer.” The thought for a really stressed out parent at the end of their patience could be, “These kids are so unruly right now, just spank the living you know what out of them.” People that have lived with negative thought patterns their entire lives, but choose a healthy reaction to those thoughts, ask themselves four questions that are included in the acronym for H.A.L.T. They ask themselves: Am I Hungry?  Am I Angry?   Am I Lonely?  Am I Tired?  If the answer to any of the questions are yes and they are having negative impulsive thoughts, they take a step back and don’t react right away. Once they are aware that they are lacking in food (or angry for any reason, or feel lonely, or feel tired), they are able to take a breath. They take care of their basic needs first instead of immediately reacting to those negative impulsive thoughts.

2. They keep a journal.

It is no secret that journaling one’s thoughts and feelings can be a positive act. However, it is a struggle for many to get into the habit. Once they write out some of their negative impulsive thoughts (or just write down the feelings surrounding them), they get it out of their head and on paper, and it releases the stress of the negative action that the thought might bring. Once their feelings surrounding these thoughts are written down, it is no longer stuck in their head or affecting their mood. Journaling one’s thoughts can also be a way to kept track of how frequently these negative impulsive thoughts might arise. If the negative impulsive thought might involve telling someone how you really feel in a negative or hurtful way, instead of writing in a journal, they might write a letter to that person or write out a text that they don’t ever send. This action allows for their feelings of anger to be released but not actually communicated or sent to the person those thoughts and actions would involve. This way, they avoid lashing out in anger or frustration but still allow the feelings to be released so that they don’t later turn into resentments.

3. They talk to someone.

It is known that having a mentor, a confidant, or someone you trust and you are able to talk about your thoughts, feelings or issues with, can really help your situation. Mature people talk to someone about their thoughts and feelings to help sort things out. It could be a close friend they trust, a therapist. a life coach, or even a mentor that they admire and consider someone that would offer them sound advice with any given situation. The person they share their information with is a safe person that is there to encourage and guide, not one to ridicule or judge their situation.

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4. They replace the negative impulsive thought with a positive action.

Sometimes they have negative impulsive thoughts about issues they might struggle with. If it’s about lack of patience or quick anger towards their children, instead of reflexively acting out, they take a step back. They go in a different part of the house or set a boundary with their children that they need some time for themselves. If they want to indulge in something sweet, or their favorite burger, or pizza joint, they go for a walk or exercise instead. It they want a new outfit or a pair of expensive shoes they can’t really afford, they organize or go through their closet and find a few items they haven’t worn in months. As a safe compromise, they could also browse clearance racks and buy one item instead of a larger purchase they can’t afford. If they have addiction issues, many times exercise or meditation can immediately change their mental state for the better and are a great tools to utilise during periods of negative impulsive thoughts about drinking or using drugs.

5. They process their feelings.

Feelings are just feelings. They are neither right nor wrong. Mature people process their feelings first and then choose which reaction they want to make based on those thoughts and feelings. They are first presented with a thought, then a feeling, and then they can decide how to respond. It is their responsibility to own their feelings and make the best choice they can, based on the situation. Mature people do not blame others for their actions or reactions, they take responsibility for their own actions. They realise they have the power of choosing how to react in any given situation, no matter how negative or chaotic the current situation may be.

6. They think through the outcome.

If we reacted on every single thought or feeling that came into our minds, there might be a lot more people in prison or possibly even dead. For the most part, we have pretty good self control as we don’t always react to every single thought, desire, or feeling that we experience. Mature people that have negative impulsive thoughts think through the outcome. They think what would happen if they were to react to each to every negative impulsive thought they have. For example, what if they drank too much and got behind the wheel of a vehicle. The worst outcome could be their death or someone else’s. Instead, they utilise a designated driver or a taxi. If someone in recovery from addiction issues thinks through their thoughts on going back to drinking or using drugs, they realize the relapse isn’t worth it and remain sober for that day. If someone that enjoys shopping a little too much thinks through the fact that they will go further into debt or worse, they decide not to go shopping at all. If someone struggles with food addiction and realises the long term affect could be a life threatening illnesses later down the road, they eat something healthier or decide to exercise. After thinking through the outcome of each negative impulsive thought, they have the power to have stronger self control.

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7. They filter out the lies. 

Many of the thoughts that come to us are not true, especially the negative impulsive ones. Some thoughts tell us lies, like if we do take that drink or buy that new outfit things will be great, when in reality there is a consequence for every negative action. Mature people take the thought in and recognize it is not true, rejecting it altogether. They will not act on impulse because they know if they follow through on the action based on the thought the outcome will be completely different than what their thoughts are telling them. When they are hurt by someone and their negative impulsive thoughts tell them to do the same to that person to get even or revenge, they know the true outcome will eventually be guilt or shame for hurting someone else even though they themselves have been hurt.

8. They practice forgiveness.

If we continue to hold resentments or grudges towards others that have hurt us then anger will follow us everywhere we go. With the feeling of anger being a volatile one that can catapult a myriad of negative reactions in the span of a few seconds. It is dangerous to continuously have underlying anger in our lives because we have not forgiven others. Mature people practice forgiveness in their lives so that anger is not an underlying presence. Many times, feeling anger can be justified if others have hurt us, but to hold onto that anger is detrimental to our happiness. If we don’t forgive others, we actually allow them to still have control in our lives and our past because we have not let go of the event or person that hurt us. Forgiveness is a process, but mature people find other people that can help them work on the process of forgiveness and be able to live their lives with a clearer conscious and a heart that is no longer bitter. There is freedom in forgiveness. Mature people continually practice forgiveness. This makes them less likely to give in to negative impulsive thoughts because they have no lingering anger, hate, or resentments towards others just waiting to rise up within them.

9. The practice prayer or meditation.

Many times, believing in something greater than yourself can be a very positive thing. Mature people utilize prayer or meditation to lessen the stress of everyday life by giving those issues up to something greater than themselves. They could be a part of many of the numerous practicing religions around the world today, or just giving up their issues to a higher power (which many recovery groups are based on). They choose to believe in something else to help them get through their everyday lives. When negative impulsive thoughts come, they pray for the thoughts to stop, or to be led to the best reaction based on whichever negative impulsive thought they are faced with.

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Featured photo credit: Elade Manu via flickr.com

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Wendy Redden

Digital Advertising Account Manager, Music Blogger, Freelance Writer

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Last Updated on April 11, 2019

How to Improve Communication Skills for Workplace Success

How to Improve Communication Skills for Workplace Success

Possessing strong communication skills will help you in every phase of your life. This is especially true in the workplace.

I have personally worked with several leaders who were masters of communication. A few were wonderful speakers who could tell a great story and get everyone in the room engaged. Those of us in attendance would walk away feeling inspired and eager to help with what came next. Others were very skilled at sharing a clear direction and job expectations.

I knew exactly what was expected of me and how to achieve my goals. This was the foundation of an energized and vibrant role I was in. What I have found is strong communication skills are incredibly helpful and sometimes critical in how well we perform at work.

Here we will take a look at how to improve communication skills for workplace success.

How Communication Skills Help Your Success

Strong communication skills pave the way for success in many ways. Let’s look at a few of the big ones.

Create a Positive Experience

Here are two examples of how well developed communication skills helps create a positive experience:

When I first moved to the city I now live in, I began a job search. Prior to my first live interview, I was told an address to go to. Upon arriving at the address provided, I drove around and around attempting to find the location. After 15 minutes of circling and looking for the address, I finally grabbed a parking spot and set out on foot.

What I discovered was the address was actually down an alley and only had the number over the door. No sign for the actual company. The person that gave me those very unclear directions provided a bad experience for me.

Had they communicated the directions to get there in a clear manner, my experience would have been much better. Instead the entire experience started off poorly and colored the entire meeting.

As a recruiter, I frequently provide potential candidates with information about a job I’m speaking to them about. In order to do this, I also provide a picture of the overall company, the group they might be joining, and how their role fits in and impacts the entire company.

Time and time again I have been told by candidates that I have provided the clearest picture of a company and role they have ever heard. They have a positive experience when I clearly communicate to them. Even when the position does not work out for them, often times they will want to stay in touch with me due to the open communication and beneficial experience they had during the interviewing process.

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Strong communication skills will provide a positive experience in virtually any interaction you have with someone.

Help Leadership Skills

It’s certainly a skill all its own to be able to lead others.

Being a mentor and guiding others towards success is a major hallmark of great leaders. Another characteristic of effective leaders is the ability to communicate clearly.

As I referenced above, having a leader who can plainly articulate the company’s mission and direction goes a really long way towards being the Captain of the boat that others want to follow. It’s like saying “here’s our destination and this is how we are going to get there” in a way that everyone can get on board with.

Another critical component of everyone helping to sail the boat in the right direction is knowing what your portion is all about. How are you helping the boat move towards its destination in the manner than is consistent with the leaders’ vision?

If you have a boss or a manager that can show you what it takes for not only you to be successful, but also how your performance helps the company’s success then you’ve got a winner. A boss with superior communication skills.

Build Better Teams

Most of us work in teams of some sort or another. During the course of my career, I have led teams up to 80 and also been an individual contributor.

In my individual contributor roles, I have been part of a larger team. Even if you are in business for yourself, you have to interact with others in one manner or another.

If you have strong communication skills, it helps to build better teams. This is true whether you are in an IT department with 100 other fellow programmers or if you own your own business and have customers or vendors you communicate with.

When you showcase your robust ability to communicate well with others while interacting with them, you are building a better team.

Now let’s jump in to how to improve communication skills to help you pave the way for your workplace success.

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How to Improve Communication Skills for Workplace Success

There are many tips, tricks, and techniques to improve communication skills. I don’t want to overwhelm you with too much information, so let’s focus on the things that will provide the biggest return on your time investment.

Most of these tips will be fairly easy to become aware of but will take time and effort to implement. So let’s go!

1. Listen

Ever heard the saying you have two ears and one mouth for a reason? If you haven’t, then here’s the reason:

Being a good listener is half the equation to being a good communicator.

People who have the ability to really listen to someone can then actually answer questions in a meaningful way. If you don’t make the effort to actively listen, then you are really doing yourself and the other person a disservice in the communication department.

Know that person who is chomping at the bit to open his or her mouth the second you stop talking? Don’t be that person. They haven’t listened to at least 1/2 of what you’ve said. Therefore the words that spill out of their mouth are going to be about 1/2 relevant to what you just said.

Listen to someone completely and be comfortable with short periods of silence. Work on your listening skills first and foremost.

2. Know Your Audience

Knowing your audience is another critical component to having strong communication skills. The way you interact with your manager should be different than how you interact with your kids. This isn’t to say you need to be a different person with everyone you interact with. Far from it.

Here is a good way to think about it:

Imagine using your the same choice of words and body language you use with your spouse while interacting with your boss. That puts things in a graphic light!

You want to ensure you are using the type of communication most relevant to your audience.

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3. Minimize

I have lunch with a business associate about 3 times a year. We’ve been talking for several years now about putting a business deal together.

He is one of those people that simply overwhelms others with a lot of words. Sometimes when I ask him a question, I get buried beneath such an avalanche of words that I’m more confused than when I asked the question. Needless to say this is most likely a large portion of why we never put the deal together.

Don’t be like my lunch business associate. The goal of talking to or communicating with someone is to share actual information. The goal is not to confuse someone, it’s to provide clarity in many cases.

State what needs to be stated as succinctly as possible. That doesn’t mean you can’t have some pleasant conversation about the weather too.

The point is to not create such an onslaught of words and information that the other person walks away more confused than when they started.

4. Over Communicate

So this probably sounds completely counter intuitive to what I just wrote about minimizing your communication. It seems like it might be but it’s not.

What I mean by over communicating is ensuring that the other person understands the important parts of what you are sharing with them. This can be done simply yet effectively. Here’s a good example:

Most companies have open enrollment for benefits for the employees in the fall. The company I work for has open enrollment from November 1 to 15. The benefits department will send out a communication to all employees around October 1st, letting them know open enrollment is right around the corner and any major changes that year. There’s also a phone number and email for people to contact them with any questions.

Two weeks later, we all get a follow up email with basically the same information. We get a 3rd communication the week before open enrollment and another one 1 day before it starts.

Finally we get 2 emails during enrollment reminding us when open enrollment ends.

There’s minimal information, it’s more of a reminder. This is effective over communication.

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5. Body Language

The final critical component to how to improve communication skills for workplace success is body language. This is something most of us have heard about before but, a reminder is probably a good idea.

When I am in a meeting with someone I am comfortable with, I tend to kind of slouch down in my chair and cross my arms. When I catch myself doing this, I sit up straight and uncross my arms. I remember that crossing arms can many times be interpreted as a sign of disagreement or conflict.

In general, the best rule of thumb is to work towards having open body language whenever possible at work. This means relaxing your posture, not crossing your arms, and looking people in the eye when speaking with them.

When you are speaking in front of others, stand up straight and speak in a clear voice. This will convey confidence in your words.

Conclusion

Possessing strong communication skills will help you in many facets of your life and most certainly in the workplace.

Good communication helps create better teams, positive experiences with those we interact with, and are critical for leadership.

There are numerous tactics and techniques to be used to improve communication skills. Here we’ve reviewed how to improve communication skills for workplace success.

Now go communicate your way to success.

More Resources About Effective Communication

Featured photo credit: HIVAN ARVIZU via unsplash.com

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