Impulse control: Are you an “act now, think later” person?

Impulse control involves understanding the appropriate times and ways to act on emotions and impulses, and the importance of thinking before you act. Impulse Control is the ability to resist or delay an impulse, drive or temptation to act and includes avoiding rash behaviors and decisions.

People with high Impulse Control: 

    – are patient and calm even when provoked;

    – deliberately survey a situation before making a decision;

    – rarely regret what they have said or done.

People with low Impulse Control can be:

    – very involved and talkative during meetings or conversations;


    – impatient for action, antsy to move into the execution stages of projects;

    – inclined to take an “act now, think later” approach to solving problems and making decisions.

Man eating paper

People with low impulse control usually have one internal voice and it says “Go for it!”. If you are this type of a person, you (and your colleagues) may benefit from “pausing” that voice and taking time to think before you jump into action. When you feel your impulses coming, try one of the following to adjust the emotional expression of your impulses:

a). visualize the intensity of your impulses using an image that resonates well with you, for example, an ocean wave, and estimate the impact that your impulses might have on the people around you in the current situation;

b). if the situation allows, literally put your palm over your mouth for a moment to prevent yourself from fully expressing your emotions; or

c). take the classic 10 deep breaths when feeling overwhelmed by your emotional impulses.


It’s very important to be aware of your own reasons for getting your impulses under control in every specific situation. These reasons will motivate you to continuously train your impulse control.

The sign of an intelligent people is their ability to control their emotions by the application of reason.Marya Mannes