Is impulsivity good or bad and what causes it? Being impulsive is often associated with being a fun-loving, fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants kind of person. It’s the very thing that allows us to try something new, have a vacation that’s not planned, following our gut when making decisions, or acting quickly in an emergency. Researchers refer to this a “functional” impulsivity and it is considered a positive attribute.
The flip-side is dysfunctional impulsivity. It’s when we are not able to restrain ourselves to the point we put ourselves or others in danger (drinking too much, experimenting with drugs. Promiscuity or other risky behavior). It causes us to “jump the gun”, over-react, lose our temper, and make poor decisions because we can’t control our thoughts, words or actions.
Our brain is wired for survival. We’ve all heard of the fight or flight response. This is central to quick reactions and impulsivity and it’s why everyone is a little impulsive, both in a good and bad way. If and when dysfunctional impulsivity becomes more of presence or way of life, however, it’s time to stop and consider your options for better control. Follow our posts for known methods to re-train your brain to decrease impulsive behavior and the need for immediate gratification.