A recent study investigates how our emotions can lead us to act impulsively, often resulting in actions we later regret. Conducted by Jeremy B. Clift and Jennifer C. Veilleux from the University of Arkansas, this research provides insights into how fluctuations in our sense of control over emotions affect our behavior throughout the day.

Emotion-related impulsivity is when we react quickly and without thinking to our emotions. For example, sudden anger might make us say something hurtful, or moments of joy might lead us to make a risky decision. This study examines how these impulsive actions are related to how much we feel we can control our emotions at any given moment.

The study involved 197 participants, including both students and adults from the community. Over eight days, they received special prompts on their smartphones asking about their current emotions and their sense of control over them. In total, over 5000 responses were collected.

Key Findings

1. Impact of Emotions on Sense of Control

The study confirmed that when people experience more positive emotions and fewer negative emotions, they feel a greater ability to control their emotions. For example, when you feel happy, you also feel more capable and patient.

2. Emotional Control and Impulsive Actions

The study found that when people feel strong negative emotions and believe they can’t control these emotions, they have stronger urges to act impulsively. For instance, when you feel very upset and think you can’t calm down, you might be more likely to make a poor decision.

3. Impulsive Actions and Inactions in Daily Life

The researchers followed up with participants an hour after they reported feeling significantly different from their usual state. They found that people were more likely to act impulsively when they felt strong negative emotions and had low levels of control over their emotions. Additionally, they were more likely to avoid necessary actions when they felt low positive emotions.

What Does This Mean for Us

1. Improving Emotional Control in Therapy

This study shows that being able to control our emotions is crucial for avoiding impulsive actions. Therefore, therapy can focus more on developing self-control skills to help individuals manage their emotions better.

2. Self-Help Tools

Knowing that our emotions strongly influence our actions, we can use various strategies to better control our emotions in daily life. Techniques such as relaxation exercises or mindfulness can help us stay calm in stressful situations.

This study provides important insights into how our emotions and sense of control over them influence our behavior.

Reviewed by the Psyhologer Editorial Team

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