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How Can I Develop Better Self-Control?

Psychologists, criminologists, and sociologists have long observed a connection between aggression and a lack of self-control. Simply put, when an individual's ability to maintain self-control begins to ebb, aggressive reactions can be easily triggered. In a 2012 study published in the journal Current Directions in Psychological Science, researchers discovered that a person can practice self-control by using his or her non-dominant hand for common tasks -- such as clicking a computer mouse, stirring coffee, or opening a door. Over time, this can strengthen an individual's ability to resist aggressive responses.

The key is self-control:

  • In the study, right-handers were required to do more with their left hands, and vice versa, for two weeks. Training the participants to use the “wrong” hand led to improved examples of self-control, such as being polite.
  • The researchers explained that requiring people to consciously override habitual tendencies to use their dominant hands forced them to expand their own abilities for self-control.
  • Researcher Thomas Denson of the University of New South Wales said the research proves that “it’s not that aggressive people don’t want to control themselves, they just aren’t very good at it.”
Discussion Comments
By anon999981 — On Apr 27, 2018

I noticed that my daughter is aggressive, but she is left handed and since most things are designed for right handed people. She has adapted very well to using her right hand. So I don't think this would well with the left handed people.

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