What is the theory behind this worksheet?
This worksheet is based on a CBT approach, meant to explain the connection between thoughts, feelings and behavior, in order to replace distorted thoughts with realistic and positive ones, thus controlling impulsive urges (Schag et al., 2015).
How will this worksheet help
This worksheet will help clients reflect on their impulsive behavior, understand what causes it and what emotions are attached to it, but also encourage clients to engage in safer behavior, in order to control their impulses?
How to use the worksheet
Sometimes, you might find yourself acting quickly with no thoughts of the consequences, your mind is focused on the present moment. Everyone can act on impulse once in a while, especially when we are young. Perhaps you ate that cake when you were supposed to keep a diet or yelled at your kids because they simply happened to forget to take out the trash on the exact day you had an argument at work. Some studies suggest that the processes involved in decision-making and mechanisms concerned with impulsivity take place in specific parts of the prefrontal lobe, but it is widely known that impulsive behavior is dictated by the production of dopamine in our brains, making it harder for people who suffer from addictions to recover (Bakhshani, 2014).
To help you manage your impulses, we propose you an exercise focused on understanding how the impulsive behavior appears, the alternative of the said behavior and the benefits of the respective alternative.
Controlling impulsive behavior worksheet
|Situation||Primary emotion||Behavior you would normally do||The opposite of what you would normally do||What happens you do the alternative behavior|
|Example: You got a low grade on your latest test.||Sadness||Go out on binge drinking night with your friends||Take a short nap and then ask a friend with a better grade to help you review the subject.||Your mood improves and you feel good about your choice.|
Bakhshani, N.-M. (2014). Impulsivity: A Predisposition Toward Risky Behaviors. International Journal of High Risk Behaviors and Addiction, 3(2). https://doi.org/10.5812/ijhrba.20428
Schag, K., Leehr, E. J., Martus, P., Bethge, W., Becker, S., Zipfel, S., & Giel, K. E. (2015). Impulsivity-focused group intervention to reduce binge eating episodes in patients with binge eating disorder: study protocol of the randomised controlled IMPULS trial. BMJ Open, 5(12), e009445. https://doi.org/10.1136/bmjopen-2015-009445
You can download this worksheet here.