We have become expects in self-sabotage, programmed to habitually over worry, over drink, over eat and over react to life’s problems.

A lot of my clients tell me about how, despite being physically tired, they regularly lie in bed unable to sleep. My first step in helping them is look at what they immediately do to counter this frustration. And in most cases, they default to doing something less than helpful, such as browse social media on their phone, watch Netflix and/or drink coffee.

I watch people impulsively lash out and chose to fight with their partners, parents, friends or colleagues, despite knowing there is no need for it. I watch people impulsively reach for cr*ap food in the morning which they know it will only make them feel terrible by the afternoon. And many of client’s tell me how they impulsively jump into a peace-keeper role when there is conflict instead of letting the situation play out.

I’m guilty of it as well. I’ve noticed myself impulsively defaulting to old habits of replaying old narratives in my head when I’m stressed; not because the past conflict needed a resolution but because it was familiar and gave me a false sense of control over my emotions.

Unhealthy impulses can lead to confusion and doubt as our conscious and unconscious selves are regularly in conflict. We set goals and we break them and we vow to never to do a certain thing again and then do it days (or even hours) later.

To break impulsive responses initially takes will-power. An internal decision to STOP and reflect for a second on whether this is healthy or unhealthy. This is particularly hard when your environment supports the impulsive action and requires even more inner strength.

Our impulses are often defensive in nature, to protect our delicate emotional stability and/or self-worth through avoidance or distraction. And to lower these defenses and live a more fluid life requires us to go deep inside our own existence: embracing tough memories and accepting even the most toxic of emotions.

This is far from easy and something which requires a solid support network and validation.

There is no replacement for professional help but I have included a guided meditation below from my online course “The Self-Esteem Blueprint” which explores the inner working of our brain where memories and the associated emotions are stored.

Meditation (and mindfulness practice) is designed for raising awareness but always be careful with the emotions that come up and stop immediately if it becomes distressing.

You will find the meditation here.

If you have any questions, I would love to hear from you.

Thanks for reading and please don’t hesitate to share this article.

Take care

Karl

PS. If you enjoyed my articles or videos, or would like help with working on your self-esteem, then you will love my online personal development program, The Self-Esteem Blueprint, where you will empower yourself with knowledge and tools to take control of your stress and worry, your relationships, your boundaries and your self-worth. The program is open for registration NOW and I would love to have you on board.

Written by Karl Melvin