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Why do we lose control momentarily?

Why do we lose control momentarily?


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We may be able to control our temper most of the times, but there are times when on the spur of the moment we react the way we don't want to. Yet we do so. Why are we not able to carry our conditioned behavior to the situations where we get pushed too far? Is it possible to have 100% control?


Everyone has a personal threshold of self-control. This threshold is unique for each one of us and is dependant on personality, experience and context. When this threshold is surpassed, we react viscerally without thinking too much.

Zillman's excitation transfer theory can explain, at some extent, why we surpass our self-control threshold.

Excitation-transfer theory purports that residual excitation from one stimulus will amplify the excitatory response to another stimulus, though the hedonic valences of the stimuli may differ[1] (Bryant & Miron, 2003). The excitation-transfer process is not limited to a single emotion [2](cf. Zillmann, 1983, 1996, 1998). For example, when watching a movie, a viewer may be angered by seeing the hero wronged by the villain, but this initial excitation may intensify the viewer's pleasure in witnessing the villain's punishment later.

Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Excitation-transfer_theory

According to Zillman, the residual excitation produced by a stimulus may be transfered and amplify the excitatory response to another stimulus. The best example we can know about this is sports. When practicing a sport (i.e.: hockey) your excitation levels rise because of the physical activation consequence of the excersice. Part of this activation may be transfered to the excitatory response to another stimulus, for instance, an argument in the pitch. This could explains why arguments during a match (whatever the sport is) may sometimes end in physical aggression.

In my humble opinion one of the keys to self-control is to be aware of your excitement levels and specially to know what stimulus generates your activation. This will help you to control your activation levels so it doesn't transfer to another unrelated situations. For instance, if you had a bad day at work and you are feeling upset, you are more likely to feel angry about things that normally wouldn't bother you that much. However, if you are able to be conscious of your activation state and it's cause, you may be able to avoid this to transfer to other situations.


Why You Stay Up So Late, Even When You Know You Shouldn’t

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As a self-proclaimed night owl, I’m rarely surprised when I lift my eyes from Instagram and see that it's well past when I intended to go to sleep. Here’s how I explain it to myself: I’ve always stayed up late, and now the only time I get to myself is when my husband and daughter are asleep. Here’s what’s actually going on: I’m procrastinating.

Some researchers call this bedtime procrastination or while-in-bed procrastination, while the Chinese word for it translates to “revenge bedtime procrastination.” No matter what you call it, in my case, it involves a combination of technology and anxiety I worry that I won’t be able to fall asleep quickly, so I tell myself that I’ll just scroll through social media until I’m exhausted. It is this—along with a lack of what researchers refer to as self-regulation—that makes me a textbook sleep procrastinator.

The idea of sleep procrastination was first introduced in a 2014 study from the Netherlands, defining the act simply as “failing to go to bed at the intended time, while no external circumstances prevent a person from doing so.” Revenge was added to the title in 2020 with the onset of the pandemic, but as a concept, it has actually been around for much longer.

According to Alessandra Edwards, a performance expert, revenge bedtime procrastination is quite common in people who feel they don’t have control over their time (such as those in high-stress occupations) and are looking for a way to regain some personal time, even if it means staying up too late.

“When it comes to the evening, they categorically refuse to go to bed early, at a time they know will suit them best and enable them to get adequate restorative sleep and feel better,” explains Edwards. “Nevertheless there is a sense of retaliation against life, so there is an idea of revenge to stay awake and do whatever fills their bucket.”

Behavioral scientist Floor Kroese, an assistant professor in Health Psychology at Utrecht University and lead author on the study that first introduced bedtime procrastination, notes that there is also a link between procrastinating in daily life and sleep procrastination.

“An interesting difference may be that people typically procrastinate on tasks they find aversive—housework, homework, boring tasks—while sleeping for most people is not aversive at all,” says Kroese. “It might be the bedtime routines that precede going to bed that people dislike or just that they do not like quitting whatever they were doing.”

In an additional study from 2014, performed with a wider number of participants, Kroese and team argued that lack of self-regulation—associated with personality traits such as being impulsive or easily distracted—is a possible cause of sleep procrastination. While self-regulation and procrastination may sound like opposite sides of the same coin, they are actually different one study from 2019 differentiates the two by defining procrastination as delaying an action, while self-regulation refers to “thoughts, feelings, and behaviors that guide individuals to set personal goals.”

For those unable to self-regulate, Edwards adds that the time before bed may be the only time to process the emotional backlog from the day, including “frustration and anger, or fear and anxiety they may have felt during the day but shut out.”

Kroese’s research indicates that “self-regulation interventions” could be helpful at improving sleeping behavior, and therefore reducing sleep procrastination. Getting adequate sleep requires more than just setting a bedtime (especially considering that self-regulation comes with thoughts and feelings, and not just behaviors).

This is where sleep specialists such as Michael Breus—known professionally as “the Sleep Doctor”—diplomate of the American Board of Sleep Medicine and fellow of the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, come in.

Breus studies the science of helping people sleep, and he helps patients with a technique he calls the “Power-Down Hour.” Featured in his first book, Good Night: The Sleep Doctor's 4-Week Program to Better Sleep and Better Health, it is a strategy to slow your mind down while getting you to step away from technology and address daily procrastination (that could lead to sleep procrastination).

The Power-Down Hour is composed of three 20-minute segments:

  • The first 20 minutes are dedicated to things that need to be done.
  • The second 20 minutes are set aside for hygiene (such as a hot bath).
  • The final 20 minutes are for relaxation (such as meditation, prayer, or journaling).

The order of each segment is what Breus claims is “the secret ingredient.” With this technique, you are not only addressing specific behaviors of self-regulation you are also considering the thoughts and feelings element. While this may seem like a simple solution for those of us who find ourselves scrolling late into the night, Breus acknowledges that there is an added element of FOMO, due in part to the pandemic, making the Power-Down Hour seem a bit more daunting.

“I understand that people are not having any real alone time right now, and that scrolling on your phone is fun, but you lose track of time,” says Breus. “My big question is: If you want some ‘me’ time, why not schedule it? If you just can’t figure that out, set a timer and give yourself a pattern interrupt. When the timer goes off, go brush your teeth, come back, and—if you just have to scroll—set it for 15 minutes and try again.”

Breus’s Power-Down Hour is in line with others’ findings, Kroese says a specific if-then plan (“If it is 11 pm, then I will go upstairs to brush my teeth”) and sleep hygiene habits, “such as making sure to end your day with relaxing activities, dimming the light, and keeping your bedroom distraction-free,” is a promising strategy for those who are experiencing bedtime procrastination due to self-regulation issues.

By breaking up the last hour before you want to be asleep, you are not only enacting a clear plan but also addressing any tasks you may have missed or pushed. You’re taking charge of your health with a routine and managing any potentially suppressed emotions from the day. And all of this is to get ample rest and tackle the next day head-on (no revenge needed).


The control trap

There is a trap into which many sales people and other would-be persuaders fall. This pitfall is to try to hold tightly to the reins of control throughout the whole process.

Grabbing control causes resistance

When I grab control of the conversation, talking past the point when you want to reply, you will get increasingly frustrated as you wait for a pause in which you can respond.

Sales people do this when they insist on going through the whole sales pitch even when the customer just wants to pay, take the product and leave.

Parents do it when they over-do the lectures to their children. A point which is initially accepted is later rejected at what gets seen as unfair punishment.

Taking direct control of a conversation or situation does not persuade. It is possible that you get temporary compliance, but you will not get true persuasion.

Fishing is a delicate game

The control game is much like fly fishing. Pull to hard and the fish will slip the hook. Let it out too far and the line will snag or the fish will swim away.

It is only through a sometimes-long process of give and take, you steadily reel in your fish.


The Need to Please: The Psychology of People-Pleasing

When was the last time you told someone No, I cant help you with that or I have a different opinion? It can feel risky emotionally vulnerable to set limits or assert our needs or opinions (especially if we know they are different than other peoples).

Of course, its normal to want to be liked and accepted, but for some of us, the need to please is so strong that well sacrifice our identities, our needs and wants, in order to be accepted.

Our need to please is actually more of a need to belong. And our need to belong was probably written in our DNA millions of years ago. In order to survive, pre-historic man had to form groups or tribes that offered protection from predators, pooled resources, and shared work. So, if you werent accepted by the group, there was a high probability that youd starve to death or get eaten by a saber tooth tiger.

And although its much easier to live a solitary life in modern society, its not very fulfilling. Most of us want to belong and form lasting bonds with other people. And we find it very painful to be rejected or criticized by others. We fear being alone and that being alone means were inadequate or unlovable. So, we go to extreme lengths to please others to avoid rejection or abandonment, to avoid being alone.

I was taught that its important to care about others and to be polite and you probably were, too. Whats wrong with that? Isnt this how we should be raising our children? Well, the short answer is Yes, of course! But like most things, the devil is in the details. Its possible to overdo politeness and caretaking. Sometimes we call this the Good Girl Syndrome when the need to please gets out of control and we become self-sacrificing martyrs instead of well-balanced adults.

Reflective Questions: What experiences molded you into a people-pleaser? What contributed to your fear of rejection, abandonment, conflict or criticism?

Yes, we should think about other people. We should care about their feelings and needs. However, we shouldnt only care about others and minimize or suppress our own feelings and needs.

You are just as important as everybody else. And yet, many of us behave like we matter very little, if at all. We care more about others than we do about ourselves. Again, this may sound like a value you learned as a child, but its not sustainable. You cant remain a healthy, patient, kind, energetic, caring person if you constantly give but never replenish your needs.

This brings us to another common problem: We dont think we should have any needs or we act like we dont need anything. We want to be easy-going, low maintenance, and agreeable. Again, agreeableness is a desirable quality, but its not realistic to think your needs, ideas, interest, and values will line up with other peoples all the time. Sometimes we will have conflicts with others and thats okay. Healthy relationships can tolerate disagreements and resolve conflicts.

Everyone has needs. They range from the basics (food, water, clothing, shelter, sleep) to the more complex (belonging, connection, to be understood, physical affection, mental stimulation, spiritual enlightenment, and so forth). When we dont meet our own needs (and ask others to help us meet our needs), we get depleted physically exhausted and sick, irritable and resentful, discouraged or hopeless.

Reflective Questions: What are some of your needs that frequently go unmet? How do you feel when you dont practice self-care or dont express your opinions and wants? Why do you undervalue your needs and ideas? What happens when you do this?

What goes through your head when you think about speaking your mind, asking for what you need, or setting a boundary?

Perhaps your inner voice sounds something like this:

Theyre going to think Im difficult.

These types of thoughts are assumptions negative assumptions to be more accurate and they contribute to people-pleasing behaviors.

Most of the time we dont actually know what other people think of us. We may have some ideas given their behavior, but remember even our observations filter through our assumptions and negativity bias, so they arent completely accurate. Consider that your assumptions might be wrong.

Of course, some people really dont like you or your behavior. Thats inevitable. We cant control what others think about us. All we can do is try to live authentically such that we feel good about our choices and actions. When you feel good about what youre doing, you wont care so much about whether others approve. This is because your need for external approval is rooted in your own insecurities. You want others to approve because your actions arent aligning with your values and/or your needs. For example, if I need rest because Im getting sick and tell a coworker that I cant cover her shift tomorrow, I probably wont feel bad about it. I dont need her approval because I know that Im doing what I need (resting).

Reflective Questions: What prevents you from being assertive? How can you tolerate the pain of someone being angry at you or not liking you? How can you comfort yourself? What can you say to yourself to remind yourself that disagreeing is okay and meeting your own needs is healthy?

As we work to overcome problematic people-pleasing, we need to find a balance between pleasing others (meeting their needs) and pleasing ourselves (meeting our own needs). We can do this by:

  • Recognizing that your needs matter as much as everyone elses
  • Noticing negative assumptions and challenging them (dont assume that people think ill of you or that differing opinions wont be accepted)
  • Tolerating the discomfort of being criticized or not liked
  • Nurturing or seeking relationships with people who accept you for who you are
  • Getting to know yourself better (knowing what you like, what you need, what your goals are)
  • Identifying your values
  • Living authentically (in alignment with your beliefs and interests)
  • Being assertive
  • Setting boundaries without guilt (remembering that boundaries are kind and helpful)
  • Accepting that not everyone will like you or be happy with you all the time
  • Maintaining a give-and-take in relationships and limiting time with takers who dont reciprocate
  • Accepting that you cant control what others think of you

Reflective Questions: How can you balance your needs and other peoples needs? How can you ask for what you need? How can you express your opinions and ideas more honestly? How will your health and relationships improve if you take better care of yourself?


Why Do We Fear Uncertainty and Losing Control?

Future events are uncertain, and it is this uncertainty and unpredictability that leads to a lot of distress. Fear of uncertainty is related to fear of losing control. When we feel like we are not able to control the outcome of future events, we anticipate disaster. This can be very anxiety-provoking, especially for those who find any uncertainty intolerable. You might start to worry excessively and try to take control of the situation by doing anything you can to get away or avoid the unknown. This will lead to even more anxiety and exhaustion.

What are the root causes of fear of uncertainty?

This fear is rooted in children’s early anxieties and their need for safety, which forms at the very beginning of life and continues into adulthood. These primitive anxieties are linked to infantile hunger and fear of dying, combined with anxiety about abandonment and separation from the carer. These survival anxieties are manifested in infants’ crying, screaming and muscle tension, and these anxieties can be reduced or eliminated when carers attend to the needs of the infant.

If these anxieties are not contained or modified by the mother/carer because of her own psychological difficulties, these primitive emotions turn into panic/panic attacks.

These anxieties, which often continue into adulthood, give rise to feelings of insecurity and helplessness. When adults find themselves in anxiety-provoking situations, the fear they experience and feelings of helplessness and powerlessness can replicate feelings experienced during early childhood. Therefore, when we are faced with an event that is uncertain, the fear can become so unbearable that we try to deny it, repress it or do anything we can to eliminate it. It can be extremely difficult to bear such feelings and acknowledge our sense of helplessness instead of trying to avoid these feelings.

Although early experiences influence the intensity of fear associated with losing control and the fear of death, it is crucial to bear in mind that this fear seems to be part of human experience regardless of the circumstances.

What is this fear of losing control about?

Fear of losing control is a feeling that indicates that something is getting out of hand. It feels like holding our breath in case we drown. It is the fear of facing extremely difficult feelings, such as hopelessness, powerlessness, despair, rage, grief and loneliness. It is the fear of feeling our feelings. These feelings are so hard to bear that we try our best to deny them, avoid them and project them into other people so that we don’t have to feel them.

In childhood, we build defences to protect us against vulnerability and the difficult feelings that are induced by our surroundings. Changes and uncertain events in life shake our defences and provoke anxiety, panic attacks, fear of losing control and, ultimately, fear of death.

An example of this can be seen in the current pandemic situation, which has provoked all these fears. These fears represent both the insecurities and vulnerabilities that we have denied in our current life and primitive anxieties about death and powerlessness from our early life.

In order to be able to deal with our fears and feel grounded, we need to let our guard down and allow ourselves to get in touch with the insecurities and vulnerable feelings that may exist somewhere at the back of our unconscious, waiting to be felt. We need to ‘name’ them, own them and tolerate them. Only then will we find a way to feel grounded and secure.

How can therapy help?

In simple words, the fear of uncertainty and the need to be in control is because we don’t feel safe and secure within our skin. If as children, we have been emotionally and perhaps physically abandoned and neglected by our carers, we are not able to trust our environment to provide for our needs.

The relationship with the therapist is very important in constructing trust. As therapy progresses, the more we get to know our therapist and allow ourselves to rely on them, the more we begin to shape the secure self within us. In the meantime, we begin to trust our surroundings as well. We will become more confident that we’ll find a way to be okay no matter what happens and we don’t need to be in control of everything.


Comments

As a child I suffered emotional and physical and sexual abuse..I was abandoned as a baby, and was adopted by a very sick person….my whole life has been about getting stable…which I am now. Now I have very severe physical pain. it started a few years back. Mostly burning nerve pain. They can’t find any answers other than to say their is something haywire in the neuro pathways to the brain…I keep wondering if it is stemming from my childhood. There was no love at all, only beatings…tried to take my life at 12. It is interesting that I have made a good life for myself, and now I have to deal with this debilitating pain. Sure would like to know if there is a correlation…

Studying polyvagal theory helped me understand my chronic pain quite a bit. Also there is an awesome book called The Body Keeps the Score. Understanding my rewiring has helped a lot.

Check out the book, ‘How to Heal Your Life’, by Louise Hay. It’s about the correlation of emotional pain and physical conditions/pain.

Heya Judy sorry to hear about all that you’ve been through and good for you for making a life for yourself. As for a link i’m sure there is. Look up talks given by Dr Gabor Mate

I hope you’ve gotten your answer before now, but want to share my experience.

Yes! There is a direct correlation! I was sexually abused at 11. The man hit me in my left arm after I refused to look at him play with himself. At age 49 I went through a heart breaking experience involving my spouse and son, and every time I felt anxious or nervous, my left arm would start hurting. It got so bad I could not move my arm after a very bad emotional night.
It’s a lot to weite. Email me. Let’s talk!

I have had a history of sexual abuse and have recently begun my first real relationship with someone and when I am with them I start to tense up in my legs. I feel my nerves prick and find it hard to be around them not because I dislike them but from what I assume is a deep ingrained fear caused from my past. I feel for everyone posting here and am hoping that we can make a motion to better ourselves through the support and insight we provide.

I have been having a lot of heart twisting and rapid beating. I have had a very secluded life. I found out I have a very rare personality type for women. Growing up I was socially excluded, treated like an alien, parents fought every night and I found out other things, rape, depression the list goes on. I think my heart was broken so much it was dead. I am under a lot of stress, but I’m with a man whom I believe to be my soul mate. I’m wondering if my heart may have started beating more but the muscle is too week. I think I may have pots syndrome due to these problems.

My true love is with someone else, it hurts no matter where I am. Whenever I’m sitting in front of him, I can’t stop shaking. I can’t say anything either, it’s like the whole world see around me, and then I realize that I don’t stand a chance and I can’t stop crying

I also have a lot of issues from abandonment and being sexually abused as a child. I have all the same problems and pain with breakups or lost love, but I also experience pain when I’m in love and things are fine. I’ve always described it as loving someone to hard or too much, because it feels like so much that it really does hurt. A year ago I stumbled upon an article about HSP (Highly Sensitive Person). I was totally shocked when I read the characteristics of an HSP. It was like someone was describing every aspect of me. HSP is a personality trait and is thought to be genetic. It’s 20% of the population. The most common trait that I see in this thread is by the intensity of the pain and/or feelings that we feel. I bet most of the writers in this thread are HSP. It’s been proven scientifically that we feel pain more intensely. I used to think there was something wrong with me and that there was nobody else in the world like me because I knew I felt things differently then other people. When I found out about being HSP, I have a better understanding of myself and I don’t have that empty feeling of being all alone because I know it’s 20% of the population.

Do a search on HSP – Highly Sensitive Person and see if you fit. It will at least give you clarity and understanding and in time you will notice that finding out about it has definitely improved your life. You’ll quit second guessing yourself on first instincts and hopefully you won’t take things so personal because you’ll realize that it might be just how you’re perceiving something. I hope this helps someone because I can truly feel your pain.


Controlling anger before it controls you

We all know what anger is, and we've all felt it: whether as a fleeting annoyance or as full-fledged rage.

Anger is a completely normal, usually healthy, human emotion. But when it gets out of control and turns destructive, it can lead to problems—problems at work, in your personal relationships, and in the overall quality of your life. And it can make you feel as though you're at the mercy of an unpredictable and powerful emotion. This brochure is meant to help you understand and control anger.

The Nature of Anger

Anger is "an emotional state that varies in intensity from mild irritation to intense fury and rage," according to Charles Spielberger, PhD, a psychologist who specializes in the study of anger. Like other emotions, it is accompanied by physiological and biological changes when you get angry, your heart rate and blood pressure go up, as do the levels of your energy hormones, adrenaline, and noradrenaline.

Anger can be caused by both external and internal events. You could be angry at a specific person (such as a coworker or supervisor) or event (a traffic jam, a canceled flight), or your anger could be caused by worrying or brooding about your personal problems. Memories of traumatic or enraging events can also trigger angry feelings.

Expressing Anger

The instinctive, natural way to express anger is to respond aggressively. Anger is a natural, adaptive response to threats it inspires powerful, often aggressive, feelings and behaviors, which allow us to fight and to defend ourselves when we are attacked. A certain amount of anger, therefore, is necessary to our survival.

On the other hand, we can't physically lash out at every person or object that irritates or annoys us laws, social norms, and common sense place limits on how far our anger can take us.

People use a variety of both conscious and unconscious processes to deal with their angry feelings. The three main approaches are expressing, suppressing, and calming. Expressing your angry feelings in an assertive—not aggressive—manner is the healthiest way to express anger. To do this, you have to learn how to make clear what your needs are, and how to get them met, without hurting others. Being assertive doesn't mean being pushy or demanding it means being respectful of yourself and others.

Anger can be suppressed, and then converted or redirected. This happens when you hold in your anger, stop thinking about it, and focus on something positive. The aim is to inhibit or suppress your anger and convert it into more constructive behavior. The danger in this type of response is that if it isn't allowed outward expression, your anger can turn inward—on yourself. Anger turned inward may cause hypertension, high blood pressure, or depression.

Unexpressed anger can create other problems. It can lead to pathological expressions of anger, such as passive-aggressive behavior (getting back at people indirectly, without telling them why, rather than confronting them head-on) or a personality that seems perpetually cynical and hostile. People who are constantly putting others down, criticizing everything, and making cynical comments haven't learned how to constructively express their anger. Not surprisingly, they aren't likely to have many successful relationships.

Finally, you can calm down inside. This means not just controlling your outward behavior, but also controlling your internal responses, taking steps to lower your heart rate, calm yourself down, and let the feelings subside.

As Dr. Spielberger notes, "when none of these three techniques work, that's when someone—or something—is going to get hurt."

The goal of anger management is to reduce both your emotional feelings and the physiological arousal that anger causes. You can't get rid of, or avoid, the things or the people that enrage you, nor can you change them, but you can learn to control your reactions.

Are You Too Angry?

There are psychological tests that measure the intensity of angry feelings, how prone to anger you are, and how well you handle it. But chances are good that if you do have a problem with anger, you already know it. If you find yourself acting in ways that seem out of control and frightening, you might need help finding better ways to deal with this emotion.

Why Are Some People More Angry Than Others?

According to Jerry Deffenbacher, PhD, a psychologist who specializes in anger management, some people really are more "hotheaded" than others are they get angry more easily and more intensely than the average person does. There are also those who don't show their anger in loud spectacular ways but are chronically irritable and grumpy. Easily angered people don't always curse and throw things sometimes they withdraw socially, sulk, or get physically ill.

People who are easily angered generally have what some psychologists call a low tolerance for frustration, meaning simply that they feel that they should not have to be subjected to frustration, inconvenience, or annoyance. They can't take things in stride, and they're particularly infuriated if the situation seems somehow unjust: for example, being corrected for a minor mistake.

What makes these people this way? A number of things. One cause may be genetic or physiological: There is evidence that some children are born irritable, touchy, and easily angered, and that these signs are present from a very early age. Another may be sociocultural. Anger is often regarded as negative we're taught that it's all right to express anxiety, depression, or other emotions but not to express anger. As a result, we don't learn how to handle it or channel it constructively.

Research has also found that family background plays a role. Typically, people who are easily angered come from families that are disruptive, chaotic, and not skilled at emotional communications.

Is It Good To "Let it All Hang Out?"

Psychologists now say that this is a dangerous myth. Some people use this theory as a license to hurt others. Research has found that "letting it rip" with anger actually escalates anger and aggression and does nothing to help you (or the person you're angry with) resolve the situation.

It's best to find out what it is that triggers your anger, and then to develop strategies to keep those triggers from tipping you over the edge.

Relaxation

Simple relaxation tools, such as deep breathing and relaxing imagery, can help calm down angry feelings. There are books and courses that can teach you relaxation techniques, and once you learn the techniques, you can call upon them in any situation. If you are involved in a relationship where both partners are hot-tempered, it might be a good idea for both of you to learn these techniques.

Some simple steps you can try:

Breathe deeply, from your diaphragm breathing from your chest won't relax you. Picture your breath coming up from your "gut."

Slowly repeat a calm word or phrase such as "relax," "take it easy." Repeat it to yourself while breathing deeply.

Use imagery visualize a relaxing experience, from either your memory or your imagination.

Nonstrenuous, slow yoga-like exercises can relax your muscles and make you feel much calmer.

Practice these techniques daily. Learn to use them automatically when you're in a tense situation.

Cognitive Restructuring

Simply put, this means changing the way you think. Angry people tend to curse, swear, or speak in highly colorful terms that reflect their inner thoughts. When you're angry, your thinking can get very exaggerated and overly dramatic. Try replacing these thoughts with more rational ones. For instance, instead of telling yourself, "oh, it's awful, it's terrible, everything's ruined," tell yourself, "it's frustrating, and it's understandable that I'm upset about it, but it's not the end of the world and getting angry is not going to fix it anyhow."

Be careful of words like "never" or "always" when talking about yourself or someone else. "This !&*%@ machine never works," or "you're always forgetting things" are not just inaccurate, they also serve to make you feel that your anger is justified and that there's no way to solve the problem. They also alienate and humiliate people who might otherwise be willing to work with you on a solution.

Remind yourself that getting angry is not going to fix anything, that it won't make you feel better (and may actually make you feel worse).

Logic defeats anger, because anger, even when it's justified, can quickly become irrational. So use cold hard logic on yourself. Remind yourself that the world is "not out to get you," you're just experiencing some of the rough spots of daily life. Do this each time you feel anger getting the best of you, and it'll help you get a more balanced perspective. Angry people tend to demand things: fairness, appreciation, agreement, willingness to do things their way. Everyone wants these things, and we are all hurt and disappointed when we don't get them, but angry people demand them, and when their demands aren't met, their disappointment becomes anger. As part of their cognitive restructuring, angry people need to become aware of their demanding nature and translate their expectations into desires. In other words, saying, "I would like" something is healthier than saying, "I demand" or "I must have" something. When you're unable to get what you want, you will experience the normal reactions—frustration, disappointment, hurt—but not anger. Some angry people use this anger as a way to avoid feeling hurt, but that doesn't mean the hurt goes away.

Problem Solving

Sometimes, our anger and frustration are caused by very real and inescapable problems in our lives. Not all anger is misplaced, and often it's a healthy, natural response to these difficulties. There is also a cultural belief that every problem has a solution, and it adds to our frustration to find out that this isn't always the case. The best attitude to bring to such a situation, then, is not to focus on finding the solution, but rather on how you handle and face the problem.

Make a plan, and check your progress along the way. Resolve to give it your best, but also not to punish yourself if an answer doesn't come right away. If you can approach it with your best intentions and efforts and make a serious attempt to face it head-on, you will be less likely to lose patience and fall into all-or-nothing thinking, even if the problem does not get solved right away.

Better Communication

Angry people tend to jump to—and act on—conclusions, and some of those conclusions can be very inaccurate. The first thing to do if you're in a heated discussion is slow down and think through your responses. Don't say the first thing that comes into your head, but slow down and think carefully about what you want to say. At the same time, listen carefully to what the other person is saying and take your time before answering.

Listen, too, to what is underlying the anger. For instance, you like a certain amount of freedom and personal space, and your "significant other" wants more connection and closeness. If he or she starts complaining about your activities, don't retaliate by painting your partner as a jailer, a warden, or an albatross around your neck.

It's natural to get defensive when you're criticized, but don't fight back. Instead, listen to what's underlying the words: the message that this person might feel neglected and unloved. It may take a lot of patient questioning on your part, and it may require some breathing space, but don't let your anger—or a partner's—let a discussion spin out of control. Keeping your cool can keep the situation from becoming a disastrous one.

Using Humor

"Silly humor" can help defuse rage in a number of ways. For one thing, it can help you get a more balanced perspective. When you get angry and call someone a name or refer to them in some imaginative phrase, stop and picture what that word would literally look like. If you're at work and you think of a coworker as a "dirtbag" or a "single-cell life form," for example, picture a large bag full of dirt (or an amoeba) sitting at your colleague's desk, talking on the phone, going to meetings. Do this whenever a name comes into your head about another person. If you can, draw a picture of what the actual thing might look like. This will take a lot of the edge off your fury and humor can always be relied on to help unknot a tense situation.

The underlying message of highly angry people, Dr. Deffenbacher says, is "things oughta go my way!" Angry people tend to feel that they are morally right, that any blocking or changing of their plans is an unbearable indignity and that they should NOT have to suffer this way. Maybe other people do, but not them!

When you feel that urge, he suggests, picture yourself as a god or goddess, a supreme ruler, who owns the streets and stores and office space, striding alone and having your way in all situations while others defer to you. The more detail you can get into your imaginary scenes, the more chances you have to realize that maybe you are being unreasonable you'll also realize how unimportant the things you're angry about really are. There are two cautions in using humor. First, don't try to just "laugh off" your problems rather, use humor to help yourself face them more constructively. Second, don't give in to harsh, sarcastic humor that's just another form of unhealthy anger expression.

What these techniques have in common is a refusal to take yourself too seriously. Anger is a serious emotion, but it's often accompanied by ideas that, if examined, can make you laugh.

Changing Your Environment

Sometimes it's our immediate surroundings that give us cause for irritation and fury. Problems and responsibilities can weigh on you and make you feel angry at the "trap" you seem to have fallen into and all the people and things that form that trap.

Give yourself a break. Make sure you have some "personal time" scheduled for times of the day that you know are particularly stressful. One example is the working mother who has a standing rule that when she comes home from work, for the first 15 minutes "nobody talks to Mom unless the house is on fire." After this brief quiet time, she feels better prepared to handle demands from her kids without blowing up at them.

Some Other Tips for Easing Up on Yourself

Timing: If you and your spouse tend to fight when you discuss things at night—perhaps you're tired, or distracted, or maybe it's just habit—try changing the times when you talk about important matters so these talks don't turn into arguments.

Avoidance: If your child's chaotic room makes you furious every time you walk by it, shut the door. Don't make yourself look at what infuriates you. Don't say, "well, my child should clean up the room so I won't have to be angry!" That's not the point. The point is to keep yourself calm.

Finding alternatives: If your daily commute through traffic leaves you in a state of rage and frustration, give yourself a project—learn or map out a different route, one that's less congested or more scenic. Or find another alternative, such as a bus or commuter train.

If you feel that your anger is really out of control, if it is having an impact on your relationships and on important parts of your life, you might consider counseling to learn how to handle it better. A psychologist or other licensed mental health professional can work with you in developing a range of techniques for changing your thinking and your behavior.

When you talk to a prospective therapist, tell her or him that you have problems with anger that you want to work on, and ask about his or her approach to anger management. Make sure this isn't only a course of action designed to "put you in touch with your feelings and express them"—that may be precisely what your problem is. With counseling, psychologists say, a highly angry person can move closer to a middle range of anger in about 8 to 10 weeks, depending on the circumstances and the techniques used.

What About Assertiveness Training?

It's true that angry people need to learn to become assertive (rather than aggressive), but most books and courses on developing assertiveness are aimed at people who don't feel enough anger. These people are more passive and acquiescent than the average person they tend to let others walk all over them. That isn't something that most angry people do. Still, these books can contain some useful tactics to use in frustrating situations.

Remember, you can't eliminate anger—and it wouldn't be a good idea if you could. In spite of all your efforts, things will happen that will cause you anger and sometimes it will be justifiable anger. Life will be filled with frustration, pain, loss, and the unpredictable actions of others. You can't change that but you can change the way you let such events affect you. Controlling your angry responses can keep them from making you even more unhappy in the long run.


Learned helplessness occurs when an animal is repeatedly subjected to an aversive stimulus that it cannot escape. Eventually, the animal will stop trying to avoid the stimulus and behave as if it is utterly helpless to change the situation. Even when opportunities to escape are presented, this learned helplessness will prevent any action.

While the concept is strongly tied to animal psychology and behavior, it can also apply to many situations involving human beings.

When people feel that they have no control over their situation, they may begin to behave in a helpless manner. This inaction can lead people to overlook opportunities for relief or change.


State (internal) Dependent Cues

The basic idea behind state-dependent retrieval is that memory will be best when a person's physical or psychological state is similar at encoding and retrieval.

For example, if someone tells you a joke on Saturday night after a few drinks, you'll be more likely to remember it when you're in a similar state - at a later date after a few more drinks. Stone cold sober on Monday morning, you'll be more likely to forget the joke.

State retrieval clues may be based on state-the physical or psychological state of the person when information is encoded and retrieved. For example, a person may be alert, tired, happy, sad, drunk or sober when the information was encoded. They will be more likely to retrieve the information when they are in a similar state.

Tulving and Pearlstone’s (1966) study involved external cues (e.g. presenting category names). However, cue-dependent forgetting has also been shown with internal cues (e.g. mood state). Information about current mood state is often stored in the memory trace, and there is more forgetting if the mood state at the time of retrieval is different. The notion that there should be less forgetting when the mood state at learning and at retrieval is the same is generally known as mood-state-dependent memory.

A study by Goodwin et al. (1969) investigated the effect of alcohol on state-dependent retrieval. They found that when people encoded information when drunk, they were more likely to recall it in the same state. For example, when they hid money and alcohol when drunk, they were unlikely to find them when sober. However, when they were drunk again, they often discovered the hiding place. Other studies found similar state-dependent effects when participants were given drugs such as marijuana.

People tend to remember material better when there is a match between their mood at learning and at retrieval. The effects are stronger when the participants are in a positive mood than a negative mood. They are also greater when people try to remember events having personal relevance.

Evaluation

According to retrieval-failure theory, forgetting occurs when information is available in LTM but is not accessible. Accessibility depends in large part on retrieval cues. Forgetting is greatest when context and state are very different at encoding and retrieval. In this situation, retrieval cues are absent and the likely result is cue-dependent forgetting.

There is considerable evidence to support this theory of forgetting from laboratory experiments. The ecological validity of these experiments can be questioned, but their findings are supported by evidence from outside the laboratory.

For example, many people say they can't remember much about their childhood or their school days. But returning to the house in which they spent their childhood or attending a school reunion often provides retrieval cues which trigger a flood of memories.

APA Style References

Atkinson, R. C., & Shiffrin, R. M. (1968). "Chapter: Human memory: A proposed system and its control processes". In Spence, K. W., & Spence, J. T. The psychology of learning and motivation (Volume 2). New York: Academic Press. pp. 89–195.

Baddeley, A.D. (1997). Human memory: Theory and Practice (Revised Edition). Hove: Psychology Press.

Baddeley, A.D. (1990). Human Memory: Theory and Practice. London: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.

Baddeley, A. D., & Logie, R. H. (1999). Working memory: The multiple-component model. In A.Miyake & P. Shah (Eds.),Models of working memory(pp. 28±61). Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.

Brown, John (1958). Some Tests of the Decay Theory of Immediate Memory. Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology, 10, 12-21.

Godden, D. R., & Baddeley, A. D. (1975). Context-dependent memory in two natural environments: On land and underwater. British Journal of Psychology, 66(3), 325-331.

Goodwin, D. W., Crane, J. B., & Guze, S. B. (1969). Alcoholic “blackouts”: a review and clinical study of 100 alcoholics. American Journal of Psychiatry, 126(2), 191-198.

Hebb, D. O. (1949). Organizations of behavior. New York: Wiley.

Murdock, Bennet B. (1962). The serial position effect of free recall. Journal of Experimental Psychology, 64(5),482–488.

Parkin, A. (1993). Memory: Phenomena, Experiment and Theory. Psychology Press Ltd.

Peterson, L.R., & Peterson, M.J. (1959). Short-term retention of individual verbal items. Journal of Experimental Psychology, 58, 193-198

Pinel, J. P. J. (1993). Biopsychology. Boston: Allyn and Bacon.

Sperling, G. (1960). Negative afterimage without prior positive image. Science, 131, 1613-1614.

Tulving, E. and Pearlstone, Z. (1966). Availability versus accessibility of information in memory for words. Journal of Verbal Learning & Verbal behavior, 5(4), 381-391.

Tulving, E. (1974). Cue-dependent forgetting. American Scientist, 62, 74-82.


This Article Contains:

Why is it important to understand motivation? Why do we care about what people want and why they want it? How about because it can improve our lives.

Understanding motivation gives us many valuable insights into human nature. It explains why we set goals, strive for achievement and power, why we have desires for psychological intimacy and biological sex, why we experience emotions like fear, anger, and compassion.

Learning about motivation is valuable because it helps us understand where motivation comes from, why it changes, what increases and decreases it, what aspects of it can and cannot be changed, and helps us answer the question of why some types of motivation are more beneficial than others.

Motivation reflects something unique about each one of us and allows us to gain valued outcomes like improved performance, enhanced well-being, personal growth, or a sense of purpose. Motivation is a pathway to change our way of thinking, feeling, and behaving.


The case for your body clock

By now, we’ve started to realize that a person’s sleep and wake cycle is pretty deeply ingrained. Some people are genetically predisposed to be alert later into the evening than others. And it’s not just night owls who suffer the majority of us have to rise for work before our body clock is ready. One upshot of this could be bedtime procrastination.

Jana Kühnel, a psychologist at Ulm University in Germany, argues that a tendency to delay bedtime is therefore different from other forms of procrastination. The problem with calling this behavior bedtime procrastination, she says, is that it implies that the person “is in full control” of failing to go to bed. This might not be the case for night owls, Kühnel says. With other kinds of procrastination, there isn’t such a powerful biological force underlying your struggles, she and her colleagues suspect.

To find out whether our body clocks play a role in bedtime procrastination, they asked 108 people to fill out questionnaires to pinpoint their chronotype and overall strength of self-control. Then over the course of one workweek, people reported each morning whether they’d put off going to bed the previous night. The workers filled out another questionnaire in the evenings that gauged how much self-control they had at their disposal at that moment.

It turned out that night owls were very slightly more likely to delay bedtime than larks. However, the effect was too weak to be taken as evidence that night owls actually procrastinate bedtime more on average, Kühnel says. This might be because the group of people queried wasn’t large enough to capture these differences.

However, she and her team did discover that night owls become less likely to stay up later than intended as the week wore on. This could be because, after struggling to fall asleep on time for several days, they were so tuckered out that it became easier to hit the hay. So the findings are more revealing about when a particular person is most likely to procrastinate bedtime than who does it most on the whole, Kühnel says.

For reasons that aren’t clear at this point, people were also less likely to procrastinate going to bed on nights when they reported feeling that their willpower or focus were at low ebb. This suggests that people don’t delay going to bed because their reserves of self-control have been depleted.

Rather, Kühnel and her team argued, the phenomenon should be seen as an indication of how mismatched employees’ bodily clocks are with societal demands.

“The intention to go to bed earlier is not enough,” Kühnel says. “Biological processes need to support this intention.”

Our cultural perception of people who rise and go to bed late is still tinged with the idea that they are undisciplined. One study found that managers are actually less likely to give night owls good reviews as other employees, regardless of how well they actually perform they see them come in late and assume they are slackers.

The new findings are a reminder that being a night owl isn’t a sign of laziness. “This is like a message to these later chronotypes out there,” Kühnel says. “People should not think, ‘oh my god, I’m such a bad self-regulator, I don’t manage to go to bed on time.”

Nor are you doomed to have your ambitions to get a good night’s sleep forever thwarted. “We do not want to depict individuals who experience difficulties with going to bed ‘on time’ as victims of their circadian rhythms,” the researchers wrote. After all, there are ways to shift your body clock to an earlier time, such as avoiding screens that emit blue light before bed and getting outside and exposing yourself to bright sunlight in the morning. It may be that if you’re feel yourself getting sleepy sooner, this will translate into being less likely to procrastinate going to bed.


Comments

As a child I suffered emotional and physical and sexual abuse..I was abandoned as a baby, and was adopted by a very sick person….my whole life has been about getting stable…which I am now. Now I have very severe physical pain. it started a few years back. Mostly burning nerve pain. They can’t find any answers other than to say their is something haywire in the neuro pathways to the brain…I keep wondering if it is stemming from my childhood. There was no love at all, only beatings…tried to take my life at 12. It is interesting that I have made a good life for myself, and now I have to deal with this debilitating pain. Sure would like to know if there is a correlation…

Studying polyvagal theory helped me understand my chronic pain quite a bit. Also there is an awesome book called The Body Keeps the Score. Understanding my rewiring has helped a lot.

Check out the book, ‘How to Heal Your Life’, by Louise Hay. It’s about the correlation of emotional pain and physical conditions/pain.

Heya Judy sorry to hear about all that you’ve been through and good for you for making a life for yourself. As for a link i’m sure there is. Look up talks given by Dr Gabor Mate

I hope you’ve gotten your answer before now, but want to share my experience.

Yes! There is a direct correlation! I was sexually abused at 11. The man hit me in my left arm after I refused to look at him play with himself. At age 49 I went through a heart breaking experience involving my spouse and son, and every time I felt anxious or nervous, my left arm would start hurting. It got so bad I could not move my arm after a very bad emotional night.
It’s a lot to weite. Email me. Let’s talk!

I have had a history of sexual abuse and have recently begun my first real relationship with someone and when I am with them I start to tense up in my legs. I feel my nerves prick and find it hard to be around them not because I dislike them but from what I assume is a deep ingrained fear caused from my past. I feel for everyone posting here and am hoping that we can make a motion to better ourselves through the support and insight we provide.

I have been having a lot of heart twisting and rapid beating. I have had a very secluded life. I found out I have a very rare personality type for women. Growing up I was socially excluded, treated like an alien, parents fought every night and I found out other things, rape, depression the list goes on. I think my heart was broken so much it was dead. I am under a lot of stress, but I’m with a man whom I believe to be my soul mate. I’m wondering if my heart may have started beating more but the muscle is too week. I think I may have pots syndrome due to these problems.

My true love is with someone else, it hurts no matter where I am. Whenever I’m sitting in front of him, I can’t stop shaking. I can’t say anything either, it’s like the whole world see around me, and then I realize that I don’t stand a chance and I can’t stop crying

I also have a lot of issues from abandonment and being sexually abused as a child. I have all the same problems and pain with breakups or lost love, but I also experience pain when I’m in love and things are fine. I’ve always described it as loving someone to hard or too much, because it feels like so much that it really does hurt. A year ago I stumbled upon an article about HSP (Highly Sensitive Person). I was totally shocked when I read the characteristics of an HSP. It was like someone was describing every aspect of me. HSP is a personality trait and is thought to be genetic. It’s 20% of the population. The most common trait that I see in this thread is by the intensity of the pain and/or feelings that we feel. I bet most of the writers in this thread are HSP. It’s been proven scientifically that we feel pain more intensely. I used to think there was something wrong with me and that there was nobody else in the world like me because I knew I felt things differently then other people. When I found out about being HSP, I have a better understanding of myself and I don’t have that empty feeling of being all alone because I know it’s 20% of the population.

Do a search on HSP – Highly Sensitive Person and see if you fit. It will at least give you clarity and understanding and in time you will notice that finding out about it has definitely improved your life. You’ll quit second guessing yourself on first instincts and hopefully you won’t take things so personal because you’ll realize that it might be just how you’re perceiving something. I hope this helps someone because I can truly feel your pain.


Why Do We Fear Uncertainty and Losing Control?

Future events are uncertain, and it is this uncertainty and unpredictability that leads to a lot of distress. Fear of uncertainty is related to fear of losing control. When we feel like we are not able to control the outcome of future events, we anticipate disaster. This can be very anxiety-provoking, especially for those who find any uncertainty intolerable. You might start to worry excessively and try to take control of the situation by doing anything you can to get away or avoid the unknown. This will lead to even more anxiety and exhaustion.

What are the root causes of fear of uncertainty?

This fear is rooted in children’s early anxieties and their need for safety, which forms at the very beginning of life and continues into adulthood. These primitive anxieties are linked to infantile hunger and fear of dying, combined with anxiety about abandonment and separation from the carer. These survival anxieties are manifested in infants’ crying, screaming and muscle tension, and these anxieties can be reduced or eliminated when carers attend to the needs of the infant.

If these anxieties are not contained or modified by the mother/carer because of her own psychological difficulties, these primitive emotions turn into panic/panic attacks.

These anxieties, which often continue into adulthood, give rise to feelings of insecurity and helplessness. When adults find themselves in anxiety-provoking situations, the fear they experience and feelings of helplessness and powerlessness can replicate feelings experienced during early childhood. Therefore, when we are faced with an event that is uncertain, the fear can become so unbearable that we try to deny it, repress it or do anything we can to eliminate it. It can be extremely difficult to bear such feelings and acknowledge our sense of helplessness instead of trying to avoid these feelings.

Although early experiences influence the intensity of fear associated with losing control and the fear of death, it is crucial to bear in mind that this fear seems to be part of human experience regardless of the circumstances.

What is this fear of losing control about?

Fear of losing control is a feeling that indicates that something is getting out of hand. It feels like holding our breath in case we drown. It is the fear of facing extremely difficult feelings, such as hopelessness, powerlessness, despair, rage, grief and loneliness. It is the fear of feeling our feelings. These feelings are so hard to bear that we try our best to deny them, avoid them and project them into other people so that we don’t have to feel them.

In childhood, we build defences to protect us against vulnerability and the difficult feelings that are induced by our surroundings. Changes and uncertain events in life shake our defences and provoke anxiety, panic attacks, fear of losing control and, ultimately, fear of death.

An example of this can be seen in the current pandemic situation, which has provoked all these fears. These fears represent both the insecurities and vulnerabilities that we have denied in our current life and primitive anxieties about death and powerlessness from our early life.

In order to be able to deal with our fears and feel grounded, we need to let our guard down and allow ourselves to get in touch with the insecurities and vulnerable feelings that may exist somewhere at the back of our unconscious, waiting to be felt. We need to ‘name’ them, own them and tolerate them. Only then will we find a way to feel grounded and secure.

How can therapy help?

In simple words, the fear of uncertainty and the need to be in control is because we don’t feel safe and secure within our skin. If as children, we have been emotionally and perhaps physically abandoned and neglected by our carers, we are not able to trust our environment to provide for our needs.

The relationship with the therapist is very important in constructing trust. As therapy progresses, the more we get to know our therapist and allow ourselves to rely on them, the more we begin to shape the secure self within us. In the meantime, we begin to trust our surroundings as well. We will become more confident that we’ll find a way to be okay no matter what happens and we don’t need to be in control of everything.


The case for your body clock

By now, we’ve started to realize that a person’s sleep and wake cycle is pretty deeply ingrained. Some people are genetically predisposed to be alert later into the evening than others. And it’s not just night owls who suffer the majority of us have to rise for work before our body clock is ready. One upshot of this could be bedtime procrastination.

Jana Kühnel, a psychologist at Ulm University in Germany, argues that a tendency to delay bedtime is therefore different from other forms of procrastination. The problem with calling this behavior bedtime procrastination, she says, is that it implies that the person “is in full control” of failing to go to bed. This might not be the case for night owls, Kühnel says. With other kinds of procrastination, there isn’t such a powerful biological force underlying your struggles, she and her colleagues suspect.

To find out whether our body clocks play a role in bedtime procrastination, they asked 108 people to fill out questionnaires to pinpoint their chronotype and overall strength of self-control. Then over the course of one workweek, people reported each morning whether they’d put off going to bed the previous night. The workers filled out another questionnaire in the evenings that gauged how much self-control they had at their disposal at that moment.

It turned out that night owls were very slightly more likely to delay bedtime than larks. However, the effect was too weak to be taken as evidence that night owls actually procrastinate bedtime more on average, Kühnel says. This might be because the group of people queried wasn’t large enough to capture these differences.

However, she and her team did discover that night owls become less likely to stay up later than intended as the week wore on. This could be because, after struggling to fall asleep on time for several days, they were so tuckered out that it became easier to hit the hay. So the findings are more revealing about when a particular person is most likely to procrastinate bedtime than who does it most on the whole, Kühnel says.

For reasons that aren’t clear at this point, people were also less likely to procrastinate going to bed on nights when they reported feeling that their willpower or focus were at low ebb. This suggests that people don’t delay going to bed because their reserves of self-control have been depleted.

Rather, Kühnel and her team argued, the phenomenon should be seen as an indication of how mismatched employees’ bodily clocks are with societal demands.

“The intention to go to bed earlier is not enough,” Kühnel says. “Biological processes need to support this intention.”

Our cultural perception of people who rise and go to bed late is still tinged with the idea that they are undisciplined. One study found that managers are actually less likely to give night owls good reviews as other employees, regardless of how well they actually perform they see them come in late and assume they are slackers.

The new findings are a reminder that being a night owl isn’t a sign of laziness. “This is like a message to these later chronotypes out there,” Kühnel says. “People should not think, ‘oh my god, I’m such a bad self-regulator, I don’t manage to go to bed on time.”

Nor are you doomed to have your ambitions to get a good night’s sleep forever thwarted. “We do not want to depict individuals who experience difficulties with going to bed ‘on time’ as victims of their circadian rhythms,” the researchers wrote. After all, there are ways to shift your body clock to an earlier time, such as avoiding screens that emit blue light before bed and getting outside and exposing yourself to bright sunlight in the morning. It may be that if you’re feel yourself getting sleepy sooner, this will translate into being less likely to procrastinate going to bed.


Learned helplessness occurs when an animal is repeatedly subjected to an aversive stimulus that it cannot escape. Eventually, the animal will stop trying to avoid the stimulus and behave as if it is utterly helpless to change the situation. Even when opportunities to escape are presented, this learned helplessness will prevent any action.

While the concept is strongly tied to animal psychology and behavior, it can also apply to many situations involving human beings.

When people feel that they have no control over their situation, they may begin to behave in a helpless manner. This inaction can lead people to overlook opportunities for relief or change.


Why You Stay Up So Late, Even When You Know You Shouldn’t

To revist this article, visit My Profile, then View saved stories.

To revist this article, visit My Profile, then View saved stories.

As a self-proclaimed night owl, I’m rarely surprised when I lift my eyes from Instagram and see that it's well past when I intended to go to sleep. Here’s how I explain it to myself: I’ve always stayed up late, and now the only time I get to myself is when my husband and daughter are asleep. Here’s what’s actually going on: I’m procrastinating.

Some researchers call this bedtime procrastination or while-in-bed procrastination, while the Chinese word for it translates to “revenge bedtime procrastination.” No matter what you call it, in my case, it involves a combination of technology and anxiety I worry that I won’t be able to fall asleep quickly, so I tell myself that I’ll just scroll through social media until I’m exhausted. It is this—along with a lack of what researchers refer to as self-regulation—that makes me a textbook sleep procrastinator.

The idea of sleep procrastination was first introduced in a 2014 study from the Netherlands, defining the act simply as “failing to go to bed at the intended time, while no external circumstances prevent a person from doing so.” Revenge was added to the title in 2020 with the onset of the pandemic, but as a concept, it has actually been around for much longer.

According to Alessandra Edwards, a performance expert, revenge bedtime procrastination is quite common in people who feel they don’t have control over their time (such as those in high-stress occupations) and are looking for a way to regain some personal time, even if it means staying up too late.

“When it comes to the evening, they categorically refuse to go to bed early, at a time they know will suit them best and enable them to get adequate restorative sleep and feel better,” explains Edwards. “Nevertheless there is a sense of retaliation against life, so there is an idea of revenge to stay awake and do whatever fills their bucket.”

Behavioral scientist Floor Kroese, an assistant professor in Health Psychology at Utrecht University and lead author on the study that first introduced bedtime procrastination, notes that there is also a link between procrastinating in daily life and sleep procrastination.

“An interesting difference may be that people typically procrastinate on tasks they find aversive—housework, homework, boring tasks—while sleeping for most people is not aversive at all,” says Kroese. “It might be the bedtime routines that precede going to bed that people dislike or just that they do not like quitting whatever they were doing.”

In an additional study from 2014, performed with a wider number of participants, Kroese and team argued that lack of self-regulation—associated with personality traits such as being impulsive or easily distracted—is a possible cause of sleep procrastination. While self-regulation and procrastination may sound like opposite sides of the same coin, they are actually different one study from 2019 differentiates the two by defining procrastination as delaying an action, while self-regulation refers to “thoughts, feelings, and behaviors that guide individuals to set personal goals.”

For those unable to self-regulate, Edwards adds that the time before bed may be the only time to process the emotional backlog from the day, including “frustration and anger, or fear and anxiety they may have felt during the day but shut out.”

Kroese’s research indicates that “self-regulation interventions” could be helpful at improving sleeping behavior, and therefore reducing sleep procrastination. Getting adequate sleep requires more than just setting a bedtime (especially considering that self-regulation comes with thoughts and feelings, and not just behaviors).

This is where sleep specialists such as Michael Breus—known professionally as “the Sleep Doctor”—diplomate of the American Board of Sleep Medicine and fellow of the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, come in.

Breus studies the science of helping people sleep, and he helps patients with a technique he calls the “Power-Down Hour.” Featured in his first book, Good Night: The Sleep Doctor's 4-Week Program to Better Sleep and Better Health, it is a strategy to slow your mind down while getting you to step away from technology and address daily procrastination (that could lead to sleep procrastination).

The Power-Down Hour is composed of three 20-minute segments:

  • The first 20 minutes are dedicated to things that need to be done.
  • The second 20 minutes are set aside for hygiene (such as a hot bath).
  • The final 20 minutes are for relaxation (such as meditation, prayer, or journaling).

The order of each segment is what Breus claims is “the secret ingredient.” With this technique, you are not only addressing specific behaviors of self-regulation you are also considering the thoughts and feelings element. While this may seem like a simple solution for those of us who find ourselves scrolling late into the night, Breus acknowledges that there is an added element of FOMO, due in part to the pandemic, making the Power-Down Hour seem a bit more daunting.

“I understand that people are not having any real alone time right now, and that scrolling on your phone is fun, but you lose track of time,” says Breus. “My big question is: If you want some ‘me’ time, why not schedule it? If you just can’t figure that out, set a timer and give yourself a pattern interrupt. When the timer goes off, go brush your teeth, come back, and—if you just have to scroll—set it for 15 minutes and try again.”

Breus’s Power-Down Hour is in line with others’ findings, Kroese says a specific if-then plan (“If it is 11 pm, then I will go upstairs to brush my teeth”) and sleep hygiene habits, “such as making sure to end your day with relaxing activities, dimming the light, and keeping your bedroom distraction-free,” is a promising strategy for those who are experiencing bedtime procrastination due to self-regulation issues.

By breaking up the last hour before you want to be asleep, you are not only enacting a clear plan but also addressing any tasks you may have missed or pushed. You’re taking charge of your health with a routine and managing any potentially suppressed emotions from the day. And all of this is to get ample rest and tackle the next day head-on (no revenge needed).


Controlling anger before it controls you

We all know what anger is, and we've all felt it: whether as a fleeting annoyance or as full-fledged rage.

Anger is a completely normal, usually healthy, human emotion. But when it gets out of control and turns destructive, it can lead to problems—problems at work, in your personal relationships, and in the overall quality of your life. And it can make you feel as though you're at the mercy of an unpredictable and powerful emotion. This brochure is meant to help you understand and control anger.

The Nature of Anger

Anger is "an emotional state that varies in intensity from mild irritation to intense fury and rage," according to Charles Spielberger, PhD, a psychologist who specializes in the study of anger. Like other emotions, it is accompanied by physiological and biological changes when you get angry, your heart rate and blood pressure go up, as do the levels of your energy hormones, adrenaline, and noradrenaline.

Anger can be caused by both external and internal events. You could be angry at a specific person (such as a coworker or supervisor) or event (a traffic jam, a canceled flight), or your anger could be caused by worrying or brooding about your personal problems. Memories of traumatic or enraging events can also trigger angry feelings.

Expressing Anger

The instinctive, natural way to express anger is to respond aggressively. Anger is a natural, adaptive response to threats it inspires powerful, often aggressive, feelings and behaviors, which allow us to fight and to defend ourselves when we are attacked. A certain amount of anger, therefore, is necessary to our survival.

On the other hand, we can't physically lash out at every person or object that irritates or annoys us laws, social norms, and common sense place limits on how far our anger can take us.

People use a variety of both conscious and unconscious processes to deal with their angry feelings. The three main approaches are expressing, suppressing, and calming. Expressing your angry feelings in an assertive—not aggressive—manner is the healthiest way to express anger. To do this, you have to learn how to make clear what your needs are, and how to get them met, without hurting others. Being assertive doesn't mean being pushy or demanding it means being respectful of yourself and others.

Anger can be suppressed, and then converted or redirected. This happens when you hold in your anger, stop thinking about it, and focus on something positive. The aim is to inhibit or suppress your anger and convert it into more constructive behavior. The danger in this type of response is that if it isn't allowed outward expression, your anger can turn inward—on yourself. Anger turned inward may cause hypertension, high blood pressure, or depression.

Unexpressed anger can create other problems. It can lead to pathological expressions of anger, such as passive-aggressive behavior (getting back at people indirectly, without telling them why, rather than confronting them head-on) or a personality that seems perpetually cynical and hostile. People who are constantly putting others down, criticizing everything, and making cynical comments haven't learned how to constructively express their anger. Not surprisingly, they aren't likely to have many successful relationships.

Finally, you can calm down inside. This means not just controlling your outward behavior, but also controlling your internal responses, taking steps to lower your heart rate, calm yourself down, and let the feelings subside.

As Dr. Spielberger notes, "when none of these three techniques work, that's when someone—or something—is going to get hurt."

The goal of anger management is to reduce both your emotional feelings and the physiological arousal that anger causes. You can't get rid of, or avoid, the things or the people that enrage you, nor can you change them, but you can learn to control your reactions.

Are You Too Angry?

There are psychological tests that measure the intensity of angry feelings, how prone to anger you are, and how well you handle it. But chances are good that if you do have a problem with anger, you already know it. If you find yourself acting in ways that seem out of control and frightening, you might need help finding better ways to deal with this emotion.

Why Are Some People More Angry Than Others?

According to Jerry Deffenbacher, PhD, a psychologist who specializes in anger management, some people really are more "hotheaded" than others are they get angry more easily and more intensely than the average person does. There are also those who don't show their anger in loud spectacular ways but are chronically irritable and grumpy. Easily angered people don't always curse and throw things sometimes they withdraw socially, sulk, or get physically ill.

People who are easily angered generally have what some psychologists call a low tolerance for frustration, meaning simply that they feel that they should not have to be subjected to frustration, inconvenience, or annoyance. They can't take things in stride, and they're particularly infuriated if the situation seems somehow unjust: for example, being corrected for a minor mistake.

What makes these people this way? A number of things. One cause may be genetic or physiological: There is evidence that some children are born irritable, touchy, and easily angered, and that these signs are present from a very early age. Another may be sociocultural. Anger is often regarded as negative we're taught that it's all right to express anxiety, depression, or other emotions but not to express anger. As a result, we don't learn how to handle it or channel it constructively.

Research has also found that family background plays a role. Typically, people who are easily angered come from families that are disruptive, chaotic, and not skilled at emotional communications.

Is It Good To "Let it All Hang Out?"

Psychologists now say that this is a dangerous myth. Some people use this theory as a license to hurt others. Research has found that "letting it rip" with anger actually escalates anger and aggression and does nothing to help you (or the person you're angry with) resolve the situation.

It's best to find out what it is that triggers your anger, and then to develop strategies to keep those triggers from tipping you over the edge.

Relaxation

Simple relaxation tools, such as deep breathing and relaxing imagery, can help calm down angry feelings. There are books and courses that can teach you relaxation techniques, and once you learn the techniques, you can call upon them in any situation. If you are involved in a relationship where both partners are hot-tempered, it might be a good idea for both of you to learn these techniques.

Some simple steps you can try:

Breathe deeply, from your diaphragm breathing from your chest won't relax you. Picture your breath coming up from your "gut."

Slowly repeat a calm word or phrase such as "relax," "take it easy." Repeat it to yourself while breathing deeply.

Use imagery visualize a relaxing experience, from either your memory or your imagination.

Nonstrenuous, slow yoga-like exercises can relax your muscles and make you feel much calmer.

Practice these techniques daily. Learn to use them automatically when you're in a tense situation.

Cognitive Restructuring

Simply put, this means changing the way you think. Angry people tend to curse, swear, or speak in highly colorful terms that reflect their inner thoughts. When you're angry, your thinking can get very exaggerated and overly dramatic. Try replacing these thoughts with more rational ones. For instance, instead of telling yourself, "oh, it's awful, it's terrible, everything's ruined," tell yourself, "it's frustrating, and it's understandable that I'm upset about it, but it's not the end of the world and getting angry is not going to fix it anyhow."

Be careful of words like "never" or "always" when talking about yourself or someone else. "This !&*%@ machine never works," or "you're always forgetting things" are not just inaccurate, they also serve to make you feel that your anger is justified and that there's no way to solve the problem. They also alienate and humiliate people who might otherwise be willing to work with you on a solution.

Remind yourself that getting angry is not going to fix anything, that it won't make you feel better (and may actually make you feel worse).

Logic defeats anger, because anger, even when it's justified, can quickly become irrational. So use cold hard logic on yourself. Remind yourself that the world is "not out to get you," you're just experiencing some of the rough spots of daily life. Do this each time you feel anger getting the best of you, and it'll help you get a more balanced perspective. Angry people tend to demand things: fairness, appreciation, agreement, willingness to do things their way. Everyone wants these things, and we are all hurt and disappointed when we don't get them, but angry people demand them, and when their demands aren't met, their disappointment becomes anger. As part of their cognitive restructuring, angry people need to become aware of their demanding nature and translate their expectations into desires. In other words, saying, "I would like" something is healthier than saying, "I demand" or "I must have" something. When you're unable to get what you want, you will experience the normal reactions—frustration, disappointment, hurt—but not anger. Some angry people use this anger as a way to avoid feeling hurt, but that doesn't mean the hurt goes away.

Problem Solving

Sometimes, our anger and frustration are caused by very real and inescapable problems in our lives. Not all anger is misplaced, and often it's a healthy, natural response to these difficulties. There is also a cultural belief that every problem has a solution, and it adds to our frustration to find out that this isn't always the case. The best attitude to bring to such a situation, then, is not to focus on finding the solution, but rather on how you handle and face the problem.

Make a plan, and check your progress along the way. Resolve to give it your best, but also not to punish yourself if an answer doesn't come right away. If you can approach it with your best intentions and efforts and make a serious attempt to face it head-on, you will be less likely to lose patience and fall into all-or-nothing thinking, even if the problem does not get solved right away.

Better Communication

Angry people tend to jump to—and act on—conclusions, and some of those conclusions can be very inaccurate. The first thing to do if you're in a heated discussion is slow down and think through your responses. Don't say the first thing that comes into your head, but slow down and think carefully about what you want to say. At the same time, listen carefully to what the other person is saying and take your time before answering.

Listen, too, to what is underlying the anger. For instance, you like a certain amount of freedom and personal space, and your "significant other" wants more connection and closeness. If he or she starts complaining about your activities, don't retaliate by painting your partner as a jailer, a warden, or an albatross around your neck.

It's natural to get defensive when you're criticized, but don't fight back. Instead, listen to what's underlying the words: the message that this person might feel neglected and unloved. It may take a lot of patient questioning on your part, and it may require some breathing space, but don't let your anger—or a partner's—let a discussion spin out of control. Keeping your cool can keep the situation from becoming a disastrous one.

Using Humor

"Silly humor" can help defuse rage in a number of ways. For one thing, it can help you get a more balanced perspective. When you get angry and call someone a name or refer to them in some imaginative phrase, stop and picture what that word would literally look like. If you're at work and you think of a coworker as a "dirtbag" or a "single-cell life form," for example, picture a large bag full of dirt (or an amoeba) sitting at your colleague's desk, talking on the phone, going to meetings. Do this whenever a name comes into your head about another person. If you can, draw a picture of what the actual thing might look like. This will take a lot of the edge off your fury and humor can always be relied on to help unknot a tense situation.

The underlying message of highly angry people, Dr. Deffenbacher says, is "things oughta go my way!" Angry people tend to feel that they are morally right, that any blocking or changing of their plans is an unbearable indignity and that they should NOT have to suffer this way. Maybe other people do, but not them!

When you feel that urge, he suggests, picture yourself as a god or goddess, a supreme ruler, who owns the streets and stores and office space, striding alone and having your way in all situations while others defer to you. The more detail you can get into your imaginary scenes, the more chances you have to realize that maybe you are being unreasonable you'll also realize how unimportant the things you're angry about really are. There are two cautions in using humor. First, don't try to just "laugh off" your problems rather, use humor to help yourself face them more constructively. Second, don't give in to harsh, sarcastic humor that's just another form of unhealthy anger expression.

What these techniques have in common is a refusal to take yourself too seriously. Anger is a serious emotion, but it's often accompanied by ideas that, if examined, can make you laugh.

Changing Your Environment

Sometimes it's our immediate surroundings that give us cause for irritation and fury. Problems and responsibilities can weigh on you and make you feel angry at the "trap" you seem to have fallen into and all the people and things that form that trap.

Give yourself a break. Make sure you have some "personal time" scheduled for times of the day that you know are particularly stressful. One example is the working mother who has a standing rule that when she comes home from work, for the first 15 minutes "nobody talks to Mom unless the house is on fire." After this brief quiet time, she feels better prepared to handle demands from her kids without blowing up at them.

Some Other Tips for Easing Up on Yourself

Timing: If you and your spouse tend to fight when you discuss things at night—perhaps you're tired, or distracted, or maybe it's just habit—try changing the times when you talk about important matters so these talks don't turn into arguments.

Avoidance: If your child's chaotic room makes you furious every time you walk by it, shut the door. Don't make yourself look at what infuriates you. Don't say, "well, my child should clean up the room so I won't have to be angry!" That's not the point. The point is to keep yourself calm.

Finding alternatives: If your daily commute through traffic leaves you in a state of rage and frustration, give yourself a project—learn or map out a different route, one that's less congested or more scenic. Or find another alternative, such as a bus or commuter train.

If you feel that your anger is really out of control, if it is having an impact on your relationships and on important parts of your life, you might consider counseling to learn how to handle it better. A psychologist or other licensed mental health professional can work with you in developing a range of techniques for changing your thinking and your behavior.

When you talk to a prospective therapist, tell her or him that you have problems with anger that you want to work on, and ask about his or her approach to anger management. Make sure this isn't only a course of action designed to "put you in touch with your feelings and express them"—that may be precisely what your problem is. With counseling, psychologists say, a highly angry person can move closer to a middle range of anger in about 8 to 10 weeks, depending on the circumstances and the techniques used.

What About Assertiveness Training?

It's true that angry people need to learn to become assertive (rather than aggressive), but most books and courses on developing assertiveness are aimed at people who don't feel enough anger. These people are more passive and acquiescent than the average person they tend to let others walk all over them. That isn't something that most angry people do. Still, these books can contain some useful tactics to use in frustrating situations.

Remember, you can't eliminate anger—and it wouldn't be a good idea if you could. In spite of all your efforts, things will happen that will cause you anger and sometimes it will be justifiable anger. Life will be filled with frustration, pain, loss, and the unpredictable actions of others. You can't change that but you can change the way you let such events affect you. Controlling your angry responses can keep them from making you even more unhappy in the long run.


The Need to Please: The Psychology of People-Pleasing

When was the last time you told someone No, I cant help you with that or I have a different opinion? It can feel risky emotionally vulnerable to set limits or assert our needs or opinions (especially if we know they are different than other peoples).

Of course, its normal to want to be liked and accepted, but for some of us, the need to please is so strong that well sacrifice our identities, our needs and wants, in order to be accepted.

Our need to please is actually more of a need to belong. And our need to belong was probably written in our DNA millions of years ago. In order to survive, pre-historic man had to form groups or tribes that offered protection from predators, pooled resources, and shared work. So, if you werent accepted by the group, there was a high probability that youd starve to death or get eaten by a saber tooth tiger.

And although its much easier to live a solitary life in modern society, its not very fulfilling. Most of us want to belong and form lasting bonds with other people. And we find it very painful to be rejected or criticized by others. We fear being alone and that being alone means were inadequate or unlovable. So, we go to extreme lengths to please others to avoid rejection or abandonment, to avoid being alone.

I was taught that its important to care about others and to be polite and you probably were, too. Whats wrong with that? Isnt this how we should be raising our children? Well, the short answer is Yes, of course! But like most things, the devil is in the details. Its possible to overdo politeness and caretaking. Sometimes we call this the Good Girl Syndrome when the need to please gets out of control and we become self-sacrificing martyrs instead of well-balanced adults.

Reflective Questions: What experiences molded you into a people-pleaser? What contributed to your fear of rejection, abandonment, conflict or criticism?

Yes, we should think about other people. We should care about their feelings and needs. However, we shouldnt only care about others and minimize or suppress our own feelings and needs.

You are just as important as everybody else. And yet, many of us behave like we matter very little, if at all. We care more about others than we do about ourselves. Again, this may sound like a value you learned as a child, but its not sustainable. You cant remain a healthy, patient, kind, energetic, caring person if you constantly give but never replenish your needs.

This brings us to another common problem: We dont think we should have any needs or we act like we dont need anything. We want to be easy-going, low maintenance, and agreeable. Again, agreeableness is a desirable quality, but its not realistic to think your needs, ideas, interest, and values will line up with other peoples all the time. Sometimes we will have conflicts with others and thats okay. Healthy relationships can tolerate disagreements and resolve conflicts.

Everyone has needs. They range from the basics (food, water, clothing, shelter, sleep) to the more complex (belonging, connection, to be understood, physical affection, mental stimulation, spiritual enlightenment, and so forth). When we dont meet our own needs (and ask others to help us meet our needs), we get depleted physically exhausted and sick, irritable and resentful, discouraged or hopeless.

Reflective Questions: What are some of your needs that frequently go unmet? How do you feel when you dont practice self-care or dont express your opinions and wants? Why do you undervalue your needs and ideas? What happens when you do this?

What goes through your head when you think about speaking your mind, asking for what you need, or setting a boundary?

Perhaps your inner voice sounds something like this:

Theyre going to think Im difficult.

These types of thoughts are assumptions negative assumptions to be more accurate and they contribute to people-pleasing behaviors.

Most of the time we dont actually know what other people think of us. We may have some ideas given their behavior, but remember even our observations filter through our assumptions and negativity bias, so they arent completely accurate. Consider that your assumptions might be wrong.

Of course, some people really dont like you or your behavior. Thats inevitable. We cant control what others think about us. All we can do is try to live authentically such that we feel good about our choices and actions. When you feel good about what youre doing, you wont care so much about whether others approve. This is because your need for external approval is rooted in your own insecurities. You want others to approve because your actions arent aligning with your values and/or your needs. For example, if I need rest because Im getting sick and tell a coworker that I cant cover her shift tomorrow, I probably wont feel bad about it. I dont need her approval because I know that Im doing what I need (resting).

Reflective Questions: What prevents you from being assertive? How can you tolerate the pain of someone being angry at you or not liking you? How can you comfort yourself? What can you say to yourself to remind yourself that disagreeing is okay and meeting your own needs is healthy?

As we work to overcome problematic people-pleasing, we need to find a balance between pleasing others (meeting their needs) and pleasing ourselves (meeting our own needs). We can do this by:

  • Recognizing that your needs matter as much as everyone elses
  • Noticing negative assumptions and challenging them (dont assume that people think ill of you or that differing opinions wont be accepted)
  • Tolerating the discomfort of being criticized or not liked
  • Nurturing or seeking relationships with people who accept you for who you are
  • Getting to know yourself better (knowing what you like, what you need, what your goals are)
  • Identifying your values
  • Living authentically (in alignment with your beliefs and interests)
  • Being assertive
  • Setting boundaries without guilt (remembering that boundaries are kind and helpful)
  • Accepting that not everyone will like you or be happy with you all the time
  • Maintaining a give-and-take in relationships and limiting time with takers who dont reciprocate
  • Accepting that you cant control what others think of you

Reflective Questions: How can you balance your needs and other peoples needs? How can you ask for what you need? How can you express your opinions and ideas more honestly? How will your health and relationships improve if you take better care of yourself?


This Article Contains:

Why is it important to understand motivation? Why do we care about what people want and why they want it? How about because it can improve our lives.

Understanding motivation gives us many valuable insights into human nature. It explains why we set goals, strive for achievement and power, why we have desires for psychological intimacy and biological sex, why we experience emotions like fear, anger, and compassion.

Learning about motivation is valuable because it helps us understand where motivation comes from, why it changes, what increases and decreases it, what aspects of it can and cannot be changed, and helps us answer the question of why some types of motivation are more beneficial than others.

Motivation reflects something unique about each one of us and allows us to gain valued outcomes like improved performance, enhanced well-being, personal growth, or a sense of purpose. Motivation is a pathway to change our way of thinking, feeling, and behaving.


State (internal) Dependent Cues

The basic idea behind state-dependent retrieval is that memory will be best when a person's physical or psychological state is similar at encoding and retrieval.

For example, if someone tells you a joke on Saturday night after a few drinks, you'll be more likely to remember it when you're in a similar state - at a later date after a few more drinks. Stone cold sober on Monday morning, you'll be more likely to forget the joke.

State retrieval clues may be based on state-the physical or psychological state of the person when information is encoded and retrieved. For example, a person may be alert, tired, happy, sad, drunk or sober when the information was encoded. They will be more likely to retrieve the information when they are in a similar state.

Tulving and Pearlstone’s (1966) study involved external cues (e.g. presenting category names). However, cue-dependent forgetting has also been shown with internal cues (e.g. mood state). Information about current mood state is often stored in the memory trace, and there is more forgetting if the mood state at the time of retrieval is different. The notion that there should be less forgetting when the mood state at learning and at retrieval is the same is generally known as mood-state-dependent memory.

A study by Goodwin et al. (1969) investigated the effect of alcohol on state-dependent retrieval. They found that when people encoded information when drunk, they were more likely to recall it in the same state. For example, when they hid money and alcohol when drunk, they were unlikely to find them when sober. However, when they were drunk again, they often discovered the hiding place. Other studies found similar state-dependent effects when participants were given drugs such as marijuana.

People tend to remember material better when there is a match between their mood at learning and at retrieval. The effects are stronger when the participants are in a positive mood than a negative mood. They are also greater when people try to remember events having personal relevance.

Evaluation

According to retrieval-failure theory, forgetting occurs when information is available in LTM but is not accessible. Accessibility depends in large part on retrieval cues. Forgetting is greatest when context and state are very different at encoding and retrieval. In this situation, retrieval cues are absent and the likely result is cue-dependent forgetting.

There is considerable evidence to support this theory of forgetting from laboratory experiments. The ecological validity of these experiments can be questioned, but their findings are supported by evidence from outside the laboratory.

For example, many people say they can't remember much about their childhood or their school days. But returning to the house in which they spent their childhood or attending a school reunion often provides retrieval cues which trigger a flood of memories.

APA Style References

Atkinson, R. C., & Shiffrin, R. M. (1968). "Chapter: Human memory: A proposed system and its control processes". In Spence, K. W., & Spence, J. T. The psychology of learning and motivation (Volume 2). New York: Academic Press. pp. 89–195.

Baddeley, A.D. (1997). Human memory: Theory and Practice (Revised Edition). Hove: Psychology Press.

Baddeley, A.D. (1990). Human Memory: Theory and Practice. London: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.

Baddeley, A. D., & Logie, R. H. (1999). Working memory: The multiple-component model. In A.Miyake & P. Shah (Eds.),Models of working memory(pp. 28±61). Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.

Brown, John (1958). Some Tests of the Decay Theory of Immediate Memory. Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology, 10, 12-21.

Godden, D. R., & Baddeley, A. D. (1975). Context-dependent memory in two natural environments: On land and underwater. British Journal of Psychology, 66(3), 325-331.

Goodwin, D. W., Crane, J. B., & Guze, S. B. (1969). Alcoholic “blackouts”: a review and clinical study of 100 alcoholics. American Journal of Psychiatry, 126(2), 191-198.

Hebb, D. O. (1949). Organizations of behavior. New York: Wiley.

Murdock, Bennet B. (1962). The serial position effect of free recall. Journal of Experimental Psychology, 64(5),482–488.

Parkin, A. (1993). Memory: Phenomena, Experiment and Theory. Psychology Press Ltd.

Peterson, L.R., & Peterson, M.J. (1959). Short-term retention of individual verbal items. Journal of Experimental Psychology, 58, 193-198

Pinel, J. P. J. (1993). Biopsychology. Boston: Allyn and Bacon.

Sperling, G. (1960). Negative afterimage without prior positive image. Science, 131, 1613-1614.

Tulving, E. and Pearlstone, Z. (1966). Availability versus accessibility of information in memory for words. Journal of Verbal Learning & Verbal behavior, 5(4), 381-391.

Tulving, E. (1974). Cue-dependent forgetting. American Scientist, 62, 74-82.


The control trap

There is a trap into which many sales people and other would-be persuaders fall. This pitfall is to try to hold tightly to the reins of control throughout the whole process.

Grabbing control causes resistance

When I grab control of the conversation, talking past the point when you want to reply, you will get increasingly frustrated as you wait for a pause in which you can respond.

Sales people do this when they insist on going through the whole sales pitch even when the customer just wants to pay, take the product and leave.

Parents do it when they over-do the lectures to their children. A point which is initially accepted is later rejected at what gets seen as unfair punishment.

Taking direct control of a conversation or situation does not persuade. It is possible that you get temporary compliance, but you will not get true persuasion.

Fishing is a delicate game

The control game is much like fly fishing. Pull to hard and the fish will slip the hook. Let it out too far and the line will snag or the fish will swim away.

It is only through a sometimes-long process of give and take, you steadily reel in your fish.



Comments:

  1. Samunris

    It's conditionality

  2. Mikashakar

    what is necessary to do in this case?

  3. Herbert

    Incredible topic

  4. Aradal

    The authoritative answer, cognitively...

  5. Mac Ghille-Easpuig

    Very useful idea



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