Tips for Self Control

psychpost | 4/29/2011 11:44:00 AM | 81 Comments

The term self control usually refers to the tendency to act in our own best interests. Self control involves a choice and the outcomes should be reinforcing. For example: a smoker choosing to going through withdrawal now or having major illness later. Although it is clear that quitting now and going through withdrawal is the better option, it is very difficult for a smoker
to quit smoking. I will be using this example throughout the entire discussion.

The purpose of this post is to inform you of ways to improve your Self Control and how to help yourself make better decisions.

Techniques & Practices to Improving Self Control:

-Physical Restraint:

To do something that physically prevents the behavior. An example would be for a smoker to not carry lighters around or to leave their cigarettes at home or to toss them in the trash. These things are very easy to do and can be very effective. Often times physical restraint is only temporary.

To avoid undesirable behaviors by distancing ourselves for situations in which that behavior will occur. An example would be for a smoker to visit more non-smoking areas or to avoid smoking friends. A combination of physical restraint and distancing can be a great way to lower the occurrence of an undesirable behavior.

Inform others of your goal:
The people around us will often behave in ways that will help or hinder our goals. By informing others of our goals we can affect their behavior in ways that affect our behavior. For example after a smoker informs
others that (s)he wants to stop smoking, the nonsmoking friends begin to spend more time with them and the smoking friends will often admire/praise their efforts.

When facing temptation an individual can engage in an activity that will distract themselves. Recommended distractions would include: exercising or watching a film. Make sure that the activity is very engaging, enough so you don't think about your undesirable behavior. This is a technique that I often turn to when I am trying to control my behaviors.

Monitoring Behavior
Keeping track of the frequency and magnitude of our undesired behaviors will often lower their occurrence. When we see a low frequency we are positively reinforced and when we see a high frequency we are also being positively reinforced.


Using a combination of these techniques will surely help you to exercise your Self Control. A tip not mentioned above for smokers is: purchase a pack of cigarettes that you find disgusting/repulsive. This will cause a slight punishment whenever you choose to smoke.

Also if you are having a difficult time getting rid of an undesirable behavior, it's okay, it takes time to fully extinguish a behavior.



"You can observe a lot by watching"
-Yogi Berra

I am feeling a bit swamped right now with working so I am lazy to write an actual full length post. Vicarious learning can be defined as a change in behavior due to the experience of observing a model (Paul Chance).

I pose this question to you: How much of our learning is based upon what we observe in others? What do you believe to be a more effective teacher: actual experience or watching others' experiences? Which is more practical?

There are no right or wring answers, I simply would love to see your insights and beliefs. I will try to reply to your responses as best I can!



Isolation and Loneliness in Modern Society

psychpost | 4/22/2011 08:40:00 PM | 50 Comments

As the famous saying goes, "Humans are social beings" we humans can't help but to spend our time with others.

Human need for socialization is often attributed to prehistoric times. Humans needed to form groups in order to survive or they will become victims of harsh environment, predators, lack of shelter, lack of food. Those individuals who did not join groups would probably die. Membership in a group also allowed the individuals to procreate and pass on genes to the next generation.

In our modern society these threats to life no longer exist. We live in a relatively peaceful society and we are no longer victims of our environment(literally!). People can live in their homes and have no contact with other individuals for weeks and months on end. The actual need for developing strong social networks is continuing to decrease as time goes on.

Living in cities with a high population way cause an individual to experience a higher number of social interactions. But these increased amounts often do not contain any quality contact.

A possible outcome of modern society might be trouble forming a strong social network. Individuals may have difficulty relating with others. Isolation and loneliness may become more prevalent.



Familiarize With Stress

psychpost | 4/21/2011 03:18:00 AM | 35 Comments

To have a discussion about stress we must first define it. To experience stress normally means experiencing events that are perceived as harmful.

Physiologically speaking, stress initiates the flight-or-fight response. This response is the cause for most of the symptoms of stress (increased heart rate, blood pressure, upset stomach, etc). An individual who is constantly stressed may develop heart problems, sleeping disorders, and suppressed immune system.

Being able to identify these symptoms of stress will better allow us to handle stress. Once we feel the onset of stress we should try to follow a relaxation technique. Common techniques are: deep breathing, meditation, and progressive muscle relaxation. If you don't know how to calm yourself down learn one of these methods! Although you may not be able to calm down when using these methods, keep trying! Also if you have supportive people close by, you could go to them for help.

Understanding stress can be a great benefit to us psychologically. While an individual is under the effects of stress they are more prone to have poor psychological health. We need to understand that it is normal to feel stressed.



4/20 Post! (Awareness of self)

psychpost | 4/19/2011 09:29:00 AM | 36 Comments

Although there are no proven uses for medicinal cannabis besides pain relief, I believe there is some psychological benefit.

Partaking in cannabis often gives the individual a better ability of introspection (to recognize one's own thoughts, desires, feelings, etc). It is essential for us to become intimate with our thoughts because many of our actions are derived from our thoughts. Also, cannabis may act as a slight dissociative (producing an experience where the user feels detached from their own self or environment). This detachment can help the individual to notice and admit faults about themselves that they cannot normally admit.

So next time you are on your 'high' try a little exercise in communicating with your self. Knowing your thoughts can be very beneficial.

Disclaimer: I do not condone the use of any illegal substances, do so at risk to your own health. Also, I am not a doctor, do not take my opinions as medical fact!



Have you ever noticed that you seem to spend more time interacting with people who are in a good mood rather than a bad mood? We also seem to have a natural tendency to avoid people with whom we have uncomfortable or awkward interactions with. This can be directly attributed to Operant Conditioning.

A short definition of Operant Conditioning is: A method of learning in which learned behavior is a consequence of rewards or punishments of that certain behavior. For example: A dog that receives a treat after rolling over is likely to repeat the behavior of rolling over. Or an individual who receives a traffic ticket for running a red light is less likely to repeat the offense.

From this definition of Operant Conditioning it is clear to see why we avoid people who are in bad moods. We have previously experienced an interaction with a person who is in a bad mood and it is very unpleasant to us. The more times we experience this, the more likely we will be able to know when a person is in a foul mood. We learn to identify a person who will create an unpleasant experience. Once they are identified, we will attempt to avoid them (escape/avoidance). Even when contact is necessary we keep the interaction from getting too uncomfortable

Okay, so what can we learn from this? We are conditioned to avoid people who are in bad moods but sometimes interaction with them is inevitable. I suggest trying to make a conscious effort of making decisions and try to turn off our automated reactions. Instead of always avoiding these people, we could be able to help them into a better mood.

disclaimer: but do not attempt to help them if you know it will surely fail, you will cause an unpleasant experience for the both of you.



Privacy Policy / Disclaimer

psychpost | 4/17/2011 02:10:00 PM | 8 Comments
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For this discussion post I am looking into the use of classical conditioning in marketing and advertising. As we already have learned, a neutral stimulus is paired with a unconditioned stimulus many times until the neutral stimulus evokes a conditioned response. Typically advertisements are written in a way that associates the product (neutral stimulus) with positive emotions (unconditioned response). The aim of advertising is to get the consumers to associate their product with these positive feelings. There is also a marketing strategy that pairs competitors products with negative emotions (similar to aversion therapy).

There are countless examples of advertisements attempting to pair their product with positive emotions. A list of several emotions paired with products are: satisfying hunger, humor, sex appeal, pleasure, youthfulness, and elitism. The methods used to pair these emotions with products can range from being very obvious to being very subtle. An example of a very obvious pairing would be a beer commercial in which a man is speaking with attractive ladies while holding the specific brand of beer. A more subtle pairing would be an insurance commercial that plays relaxing/calming music to associate the brand with 'peace of mind'.

While this may seem like an underhanded way for brands to gain an advantage over others and trick consumers into buying products, classical conditioning in advertisements can have positive applications. For example charities like the humane society use classical conditioning by showing an image of an animal that needs help and can benefit from the reader. A normal response to an advertisement regarding a charity is usually a feeling of pity or guilt (because we have a lot more than whoever is mentioned in the advertisement).

Now that we know how classical conditioning is used in marketing I think that we should ask ourselves, why do I feel this way about a certain product? Is it rational to feel this way or are we being tricked? We must think about how conditioning has shaped the world around us or we will be making decisions based on how corporations want us to feel.


Electronic Cigarettes are a much better option compared to traditional cigarettes for those who require nicotine daily.

Why are Electronic Cigarettes a Better Option?
Electronic Cigarettes are a better option because they deliver nicotine via vapor, there is no combustion of plant material. Since there is no combustion of plant material, the temperature of the vapor is far lower than a traditional cigarette. Electronic Cigarettes are a Tar-Free way of getting your nicotine and also do not produce a noticeable lingering odor.

V2 Cigs Review

V2 Cigs was the first brand I used when I converted from traditional cigarettes to Electronic Cigarettes. I purchased a starter kit and a flavor sampler pack to get an idea of their different flavors. Soon the order arrived and was very easy to get the battery charged. I was sampling the different flavors soon after the package had arrived. Their flavors are very good and I soon realized that I will not be missing the taste of traditional cigarettes. They have a wide variety of tobacco-like flavors, minty flavors, and sweet flavors. I have been tobacco free for 8 months now and do not regret my decision of switching over to Electronic Cigarettes. The flavors I personally recommend from V2 Cigs are: Congress, Sahara, Menthol, Coffee (All time favorite), Vanilla, and Cherry.

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Smokeless Image (Volt) Review

Smokeless Image is the second brand I used and is just as easy to use as the V2 Cigs brand. A good friend of mine recommended this brand to me so I gave it a shot. I ordered a starter kit and the sampler packs to get a feel for their flavor offerings. Soon after the package arrived the battery was easily charged and I began sampling the flavors. I was impressed by the variety and quality of their flavors.  Among my personal favorites are: Cappuccino, Chocolate, Grape, Desert Joe, RY4 (Caramel Tobacco Flavor), and Ice Menthol.
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I have been off of traditional cigarettes for about 8 months now and I notice a huge difference in my health. My lungs feel a lot better and I do not experience shortness of breath while doing physical activities like exercising. I am now using low strength nicotine (the flavors come in different nicotine strengths) and I am planning to soon switch to nicotine-free. I recommend that you try either of these two brands, your lungs will thank you for it.