Impulsivity often gets the best of us. Impulsivity can have serious consequences ranging from mild discomfort to long-term regret. Unfortunately, impulsive behavior is usually done without considering the potential consequences and can sometimes be dangerous.
Like touching this cactus, be honest; if you saw it in a store, you’d be tempted to impulsively reach out to see if it’s as prickly as it looks. I know I would.
The initial prick of the spines might be painful and cause some discomfort. However, if you leave the spines in your skin, you risk getting an infection. Although painful, this is a mild consequence of impulsiveness and not thinking before acting. Pause, don’t touch.
Or, suppose you get angry and impulsively rip a cabinet door off the wall. In that case, you could cause severe damage to the wall and the cabinet. This could cost you a lot of money to repair. Pause, and take a deep breath.
In some cases, the consequences of impulsivity can be life-threatening. For example, if you impulsively try to repair a piece of equipment you do not know how to use, you could end up causing an accident. If you do not follow the safety procedures for the equipment, you risk causing a fire or even an explosion. Pause, and read the manual.
Clearly, impulsivity can have serious physical consequences. Therefore, it is essential to take the time to pause and think before acting and consider the potential consequences of your actions. This can help you avoid situations that could lead to injury or damage.
But impulsivity can also affect relationships. If you act impulsively, you may not consider how your actions could affect those around you. For example, if you impulsively say something hurtful to a friend, it could damage the trust and friendship you have built. So instead, pause, and choose words thoughtfully.
Impulsivity can also have a negative impact on your mental health. For example, if you act impulsively, you may not consider the consequences of your actions, which can lead to guilt, regret, and even depression. Pause and consider the consequences.
What can we do before impulsivity takes a physical or emotional toll? First, pause. The power of pause can not be overrated. It doesn’t take a long time. A mere four seconds or a few deep breaths will give our impulsive brain time to catch up with our brain, and reason may prevail.
As you can see, impulsivity can have serious consequences. It is important to take the time to pause and think before acting and consider the potential consequences of your actions. This can help you avoid situations that could lead to serious injury, physical damage, relationship damage, and adverse mental health.
Cindy Jobs, PCAC, PCC
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