Self-control - what is it in psychology, definition

Self-control is the assessment and awareness by the subject of his own actions, states and mental processes. The development of self-control and its emergence is determined by society’s requirements for individual behavior.

Human self-control includes the processes by which an individual is able to control behavior in contradictory conditions of the social environment, as well as his own biological mechanisms, for example, with obsessive drives, dependence on external influences, susceptibility to impulsive impulses. Different sources give different interpretations of self-control. Below we list some of them.

Self-control is the ability to subordinate one's own emotions to reason, which is an awareness of one's own imperfections, as well as the desire to act as if a person is perfect.

Self-control is a manifestation of character strength that helps suppress unnecessary emotions, overcome complexes and control feelings.

Self-control is the readiness at every moment to act correctly and most rationally, regardless of the internal state; this is a disregard for fear, but not a manifestation of fearlessness; this is the speed of the mind, but not frivolity.

Human self-control is a strong-willed quality that is necessary for every successful individual, regardless of whether he is engaged in agriculture or teaches at a university.

Personal self-control provides the following benefits: managing your emotions and actions; freedom from external restrictions, a sense of calm based on confidence in personal strength, intelligence, and abilities. Internal self-control gives respect in the form of self-esteem, as well as the respect of others. Self-control allows you to manage both yourself and people. Self-control of the individual gives patience, which helps to overcome internal shortcomings, as well as external obstacles.

Definition of self-control

Self-control is the ability to concentrate on a task and use the body’s internal resources as efficiently as possible, regardless of external stimuli.

Definition and concept in psychology

Self-control in psychology is a set of thought processes that allow you to permanently analyze your behavior, control your actions and your own mental state. Perfection of self-control, first of all, includes an absolute understanding of one’s nature, shortcomings and strengths of character.

Attention! One of the directions of development is the eradication of bad habits, using only willpower, without allowing yourself to lose self-control.

Ways to self-motivate

Self-motivation is an internal struggle between “confidence” and “fear” - you either achieve a lot or lose everything. Also, self-motivation is a set of methods, techniques and exercises that set in motion an internal engine that helps you solve complex problems and conquer any heights, but only if you are focused and self-confident. The “executioner” of motivation is uncertainty, inaction and lack of clear plans. In this article, we will look at several effective self-motivation exercises and give recommendations that will help you learn how to motivate yourself. Read more…


Types of self-control

The term self-control, from a sociological perspective, is viewed as an analytical process that seeks the similarity of personal actions with generally accepted ideals. Pedagogy does not take into account the attitude towards social studies and divides self-control into two types:

  • direct;
  • mediated.

Reflection - what is it in psychology, definition

Direct is a natural type that does not depend on the knowledge or aspirations of the individual; it occurs naturally, without the involvement of motivators, value judgments and comparative conditions. As a rule, it is realized by the individual upon completion of the experienced situation and becomes the result of the formed opinion about himself.

The indirect type is forced, develops as a result of artificially paying attention to one’s everyday actions, in order to determine the nature of behavior with recording the result for further analysis and correction.

Attention! The degree of a person’s interest in his development is inherent in an innate direct form of self-control.

Some useful tips for self-motivation

Do you ever feel like you don't want to do anything? It’s not that I’m lazy, I’m just not in the mood, there’s no energy not only for active, but even for inactive actions. But you can always find the strength to surf the Internet, read VKontakte news or watch a TV series. So where do you get the energy to do anything worthwhile? In this article we will not just talk about motivation, but look at examples of people whose motivation is simply off the charts. They had many times fewer initial opportunities, and the results of their activities were higher than those of the majority. Read more…


What influences a person’s self-control?

Male abuser - signs and definition in psychology

Willpower is a fundamental component of individual self-control. The ability to concentrate on necessary things, ignoring one’s own feelings, desires and even instincts, is the result of acquiring a strong will, which is given to a person immature from birth. Growing up, everyone develops this character trait to the extent of their ability, desire and necessity.

Attention! Strong willpower has a genetic inheritance. A weak-willed parent very rarely gives birth to a strong-willed heir. With effort, you can beat genetics and improve them for your offspring.

Willpower training

Self-control in psychology is considered to be the triumph of reflexive thinking over impulsive thinking. The difficulty in acquiring such a skill lies in the fact that instinctively everyone has an impulsive type of behavior. This means that the first immediate reaction is formed in the human brain to any stimulus, which is very emotional in nature. The reflexive type of thinking works much later and is based on life experience and acquired knowledge.

An example is the sudden meeting of a man with a large dog on a deserted street. The first impulse reaction is to run. But, if a person manages not to get confused and remember that running from dogs is unsafe, he will find the moral strength to move on without making sudden movements, or to stop altogether and wait until the dog leaves.

Meaning in society

The role of self-control in society is difficult to overestimate - it is this human trait that is the driving force in a person’s struggle for survival. All examples of self-control are the basis for the formation of a successful society. A rational individual is distinguished by the ability to control his emotions and behavior. Methods of self-control are aimed at regulating norms of behavior and suppressing conflict situations. In order to avoid chaos and collapse, humanity must follow certain rules and be guided by objective indicators of self-control.

Important! The science of social science identifies the main law operating in society - personal desires and rights lose power when the rights and needs of another person appear. If you refuse to follow this rule, the number of cases of harm in society will sharply increase; in some cases, if you lose self-control, administrative and criminal liability is possible.

How to improve your self-control skills

Mental rigidity - what is it, definition

The level of self-control is not a constant value and can be corrected if you apply enough effort.

Impact Analysis

To improve yourself, you need to analyze in detail every significant situation of your day. This is especially important if there were any controversial or conflicting issues. You need to try to remember every little detail in order to evaluate your actions and words, and then mentally correct your own behavior and remember the result. The next time something like this happens, the person will be able to act calmly and confidently without succumbing to excitement and panic.

The right motivation

Learning any craft is much more successful if the process is enjoyable. To achieve results, you need to properly interest yourself. The ability to turn an important task into a hobby can make anyone happy. By succeeding in his activities, a person gains much more mental strength to develop self-control.

Action plan

Disorder even in thoughts cannot lead to results. Abstract desires to develop oneself will remain desires if they are not defined within a strictly limited time frame. It is best to keep a self-improvement notebook in which tasks will be scheduled by day of the week, month or hour, depending on the long-term duration of each.

Discipline and regime

The concept of self-control is closely related to a person’s internal culture. If you give yourself a comfortable and productive daily routine that combines a well-distributed workload and time for rest, you will be able to spend your irreplaceable resource of time more productively.


A late person will never know what self-control is. Everything great begins with small things. The elementary task of arriving at a given point by a specified time becomes impossible for many. You need to gain a certain level of composure and responsibility in order to predict events for proper timing.

Punctuality as the ability to calculate your time

Who has a high level of self-control

Many professions require you to have certain self-control skills. However, there are some types of activities where the highest self-control is a prerequisite for admission to work:

  • medicine, in particular surgery and obstetrics;
  • military service, especially in intelligence agencies and snipers;
  • operational service;
  • diplomacy, both at the international level and at the corporate level.

Surgery is an environment of professionals

Interesting. In any position, a person is obliged to forget about personal matters and fulfill his duties. In other words, every profession requires the applicant to have a sufficient level of self-control. For most types of activities, employee distraction by personal interests does not cause fatal damage, unlike specific professions.

It is useful for everyone who wants to succeed in the service to think about the topic “what is my level of self-control, and what is its role in my life.” If at least once a day a person remembers the role of his own progress, subconsciously he will begin to pay attention to his behavior and make attempts at correction.

Motivation and Self-Motivation: A Guide to Development

The importance of motivation and self-motivation manifests itself in one of two cases: when a person is ready to study and work for hours without stopping, and when it is given to him with great difficulty. Everyone wants to be productive, but motivating yourself every day is incredibly difficult. There is no easy way to teach yourself to wake up in the morning with sparkling eyes and a desire to achieve your goals. Therefore, this article is intended to collect all the most important and interesting things in order to help you understand yourself and your motives. We will look not only at motivation as such, but also go through different areas of life where it plays a special role: sports, study and work. Read more…


Why is high level dangerous?

There are individuals who are so passionate about self-improvement and self-development that it seems as if they were born without natural human weaknesses. It seems that laziness, fatigue, and mood swings are alien to them. People around them say about such people: “he consists of microcircuits,” which indicates a complete absence of bad habits, an iron will and constant concentration on business.

Such people run the risk of developing psychological problems of self-control, which consist in eradicating sensuality in relation to their loved ones. The habit of thinking and acting as productively as possible forces us to eventually perceive evening family conversations as a waste of time. Self-control often transforms into callousness, which negatively affects relationships within the family or team.

Restraining natural emotions also negatively affects physical health, especially the cardiovascular system. This is due to the constant monitoring of surges in the nervous system, which can lead to an increase in blood pressure, because a person’s self-control does not allow this to be made public.

Self-development is the best motivator

For anyone who wants to increase their level of self-control, there are a variety of individual and group classes in which professional educational psychologists share the secrets of human abilities hidden behind the ability to maintain self-control in any situation. The introductory course is usually short and covers general concepts, after which everyone finds out their level of interest in learning. It is important to remember that a person creates himself. The desire to make yourself better has always been the best motivator for action.


  • "Resilience" by Sharon Melnick
  • "The Psychology of Emotions: Feelings in Control" Dan Dubravin
  • "Strength of will. How to develop and strengthen" Kelly McGonigal
  • "Developing Willpower" Walter Mischel
  • "On the limit. A week without self-pity" Eric Bertrand Larssen
  • The Psychology of Achievement by Heidi Grant Halvorson
  • “Get out of your comfort zone. Change your life. 21 methods for increasing personal effectiveness" Brian Tracy
  • “Don't put it off until tomorrow. A short guide to fighting procrastination by Timothy Pychyl
  • “18 minutes. How to increase your concentration, stop distractions and get things done that really matter." Peter Bregman
  • "Be the best version of yourself" Dan Waldschmidt

Sometimes, in order to develop self-control, you need to constantly think about it. What dominates thoughts becomes something tangible and we begin to be aware. So don't just think about this skill, but also get a lot of information: read blogs, books, watch videos on this topic.

We wish you good luck!

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Key words:_D1034, 1Psychoregulation, 4Psychoregulation

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