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Why You Shouldn’t Suppress Yourself in Face of Temptations

Why You Shouldn’t Suppress Yourself in Face of Temptations

When that little devil pops up on your shoulder, urging you to give in to your desires, of course your first instinct is to swat him away and do the “right” thing. Right? Well, maybe not. Perhaps giving into your temptations is healthier than ignoring them, in calculated moderation of course.

Society tells us to suppress our urges, but releasing them in a healthy way could be more beneficial.

By suppressing our urges, we are denying ourselves of our true nature. There are a number of reasons why we hold ourselves back; be it social norms, laws or rules, or our own personal inhibitions.

But by letting go and letting ourselves act freely, we are transcending to a new level of self acceptance and empowerment. Furthermore, the more we suppress our urges, the more likely [1] they are to surface in an overwhelming or destructive manner.

With a little bit of compromise, you can give in to your urges, or find healthy alternatives to satisfy them. Depending on the nature of these urges, whether they’re bizarre, quirky, or on some level heinous, you can find a way to appropriately adapt them into your lifestyle.

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In the ancient practice of Ayurveda, denying your urges is a crime against wisdom.

We are taught to suppress our urges during our developmental years, conditioning us to do so throughout the rest of our lives. Wait until after class to use the bathroom, only eat during designated break times; refrain from coughing, sneezing, yawning, farting or burping in public. These are just a few examples of conditioned suppression. Because this is the polite thing to do.

Our bodies experience the sensations [2] to release these urges, because the stimuli in our nervous systems call for it. Denying our body of what it calls for can be a major cause and agitator of disease development. We need to listen to our bodies and honor what they call for. Or it will disrupt the homeostasis, the internal balance of the body and mind.

Just as our nervous systems stimulate us to release these natural urges, our desires and imaginations stimulate us as well; requiring us to act or react in a certain manner in order to find balance.

By nurturing your urges as they arise, you may be avoiding a huge conflict down the line.

Although at times suppression may be necessary; as in an instance where you need to ignore negative feelings in order to overcome an obstacle, or you’re in a situation where acting on your desires just would not be appropriate. Expression is really also equally as vital for your well- being.

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Just as we are conditioned to suppress our natural urges, we are taught to suppress our emotional urges as well. The helpful aspect of this practice is not allowing the emotions to take on a roll of their own by always keeping them in check. But at the same time you are denying yourself the benefits that come with the coping process and allowing yourself to heal.

Various scientific studies have shown that suppression can lead to high levels of stress and relapse.

In a case study [3] orchestrated by scientists Brett J. Peters, Nikola C. Overall, and Jeremy P. Jameison, it had been concluded that the suppression of urges had very negative psychological effects on both the subjects and their partners. In extreme cases, the data shows that suppression can be linked to extreme stress, memory impairment and psychopathology.

When the subject is instructed to suppress their reactions and feelings, it makes their partners uncomfortable because they cannot assess their moods or intentions. In turn, this takes a very negative toll on the relationships.

Another case study [4] carried out by James A.K. Erskine, George J. Georgiou, and Lia Kvavilashvili, a group of individuals who smoke were split into two groups during a 3 week period.

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During this time, half of the group was asked to mentally suppress their urges to smoke. During the second week when they were no longer required to suppress, the controlled group smoked more cigarettes than those who were not asked to suppress. These people also had much higher stress levels than those not asked to suppress.

In conclusion, the individuals who were asked to suppress experiences high levels of stress, and were more inclined to indulge in the activity they attempted to suppress than those who were not asked to do so. Basically, if you deny yourself something, you’re going to want it more.

Don’t suppress, express! Use these methods to indulge in your urges in a healthy manner.

To Compromise

Now before you lower all of your inhibitions and let that freak flag fly, just consider the nature of your urges. If they are at all harmful, you need to find a different outlet for that release.

Let’s say you have the urge to punch someone in the face. Well, you can’t really do that and it will probably pan out very negatively for you. Instead, take a kickboxing class. Punch a bunch of punching bags, it’s what they’re there for. Or perhaps you’re trying to quit smoking. Vaping is an excellent alternative. Or you could also keep a stash of healthy snacks on hand to satisfy your oral fixation.

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To Plan Ahead 

If you know that your urge is going to become overwhelming at some point, make a game plan.

Let’s say that you have strong sexual urges that can sometimes be destructive. If you find yourself in a situation where you can predict a regrettable morning after, acquire a suitable wing-man (or woman) who will keep you entertained and ensure that you go home alone.

Planning ahead and having a substitute for the unhealthy urge will help to disconnect the thought process between the urge and giving in to the temptation.

To Analyze Appropriateness 

Gauge your surroundings. If it’s an appropriate environment to exercise your urges, then have it. Sexual urges? They have clubs for that. Violent urges? Join a gym. Cross-dressing urges? Book a gig at a drag bar. Feel like busting out a dance number as if your life is a musical? Well as long as you don’t hit anyone while you flail about you can do that just about anywhere.

Just ensure that by indulging in your desires, you aren’t harming anyone else.

Reference

More by this author

Jenn Beach

Traveling vagabond, freelance writer, & plantbased food enthusiast.

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Last Updated on April 1, 2019

How to Be Happy: Why Pursuing Happiness Will Make You Unhappy

How to Be Happy: Why Pursuing Happiness Will Make You Unhappy

When we talk about happiness, we often think about staying happy all the time – every single day, every single minute with zero negativity. Many try to pursue this constant state of “happiness” as their ultimate goal, and avoid anything that may take it away from them.

But, what is the meaning of this type of “happiness”?

It’s a lot like your favorite food. The more often you have it isn’t always better. On the contrary, when you only have a chance to eat it sparingly, that’s when you really savor every bite. So is it the food itself that makes you happy, or is it how valuable it is to you when you are eating it?

Always remember that only by experiencing sadness do we understand what it is to be happy.

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Video Summary

Don’t Assume Others Are Always Happy

Most people see those who have seemingly perfect lives and assume they are happy all the time. Since childhood, we are conditioned to chase the idea of “happily-ever-after” that we see in fairytales. On social media, everyone tends to share only the best looking aspects of their lives. So, it’s very easy to have a distorted view of what “happiness” is around us.

In reality, there is always something missing, something lacking, or something unpleasant.

No one has a perfect life. Even the most glamorous celebrities or the richest billionaires have their own set of challenges and problems.

When we feel negative, we’re only focusing on a small fluctuating curve. As CEO of Lifehack, I’ve had to deal with countless problems, and some of them felt like real setbacks at the time. During those moments, it really seemed like these problems would be the life or death of my company and my life goals. But, I got through them; and, weeks, months and eventually years passed with many more ups and downs.

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You need to keep your sights on the extended curve.  Looking back now, a lot of those “really big” problems at the time now seem like only small blips in a long line of experiences. Recalling them in my mind now makes me smile!

Stop Trying to Be Happy–Just Be

It’s natural to want to be happy as often as possible.

So what can we do?

First, throw away the belief that a perfect life means happiness. Personally, I would be miserable if everything was perfect. It’s through experiencing the pains of lifelong challenges that drives us to care for others when they are experiencing similar trials. If life was perfect, you wouldn’t be able to empathize. If life was perfect, you wouldn’t grow.

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To be truly happy, stop chasing permanent happiness.

It sounds like a paradox. But, what I mean is to accept that there will be ups and downs throughout life. Gracefully understand that happiness is a fluctuation of positive and negative events.

Understand the importance of gratitude. Instead of focusing on the unpleasant moment, flash back your memory to when you didn’t have something. I like to think about my career, for example. When I didn’t have a career I was passionate about, I felt lost and demotivated. I felt like everyone was figuring out their lives but me. But, when I found my purpose and started Lifehack, I was deeply happy, even before I realized I would be successful! This memory keeps me going when I hit tough spots. It takes the darkness to make us grateful for the light.

Happiness and Sadness Exist Together

What it all comes down to is this: your life will be filled with beautiful, happy and incredible moments–happy tears and joyous shouts and funny stories. But, your life will also be filled with rain and storms that never seem like they will pass while you’re going through them.

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But, whether your face is warmed by the sunshine, or your heart is dampened by the rain, know that it’s all part of the ebb and flow of life.

Treasure the happy moments and power through the sad ones. Don’t try to avoid “sad” or “negative” experiences, and blindly chase being “happy”. In the end you will achieve a true level of contentment in your life, based on meaningful experiences and achievements. Being able to create growth and meaning out of both positive and negative events — that is the true meaning of “happiness”.

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