Can we learn to control our impulses before they control us? Even more importantly: can we learn to let them flow when it really matters? Countless years of life are lost and countless chances at happiness are missed because of our unhealthy relationship with impulses, which we tend to control too little (e.g., addiction and explosive anger) or too much (e.g., repression and anxiety). Understanding the underlying mechanisms of impulse control can give you the potential to live a happier, healthier, and more fulfilled life.
Neuroscientist Dr. Heather Berlin and her colleagues have been illuminating these mechanisms for years, including the surprising positive effects of losing control at the right time and in the right place. Some domains of human experience, such as meditation, improvisation, and therapy under certain psychoactive drugs, offer controlled circumstances under which losing control provides overwhelming and repeatable benefits to human well-being. By understanding these dynamics that are already at play in you, you can master the fine art of losing control and gaining it back, learn to adjust your impulse control settings at will, and make your brain work for you.
- What is the brain basis of impulse control and impulse control disorders?
- What is the neuroscience of free will?
- What are some strategies to gain control over impulses and to let go in therapeutic ways?
- Why does psychedelic-assisted psychotherapy seem so promising for treatment-resistant psychiatric disorders?