Sunday, 7 April 2019

Impulsivity and Mental Health | a reflection

Impulsivity, Impulsiveness or Impulsive Behaviour is the process of acting on an impulse or urge without thinking about it and it can often be thought as an immediate reaction instead of thinking before acting. It is common within Mental Health conditions, especially Borderline Personality Disorder and individuals who are often impulsive can be impulsive in a range of different things whether this be spending money, taking drugs, engaging in self-destructive methods or breaking the law.

I personally have struggled with being extremely impulsive over the past few years which has usually been surrounding spending money and self-harm. I no longer self-harm, but spending money can still be an issue for me and I try to avoid temptation as much as I possibly can. However, I decided to have a look into the multiple shopping bags that contains my January sales purchases after neglecting them out of shame and realised that I still have a lot of work to do in order to overcome this and I surely can't be the only one with this issue. It's also important to note, that when I impulsively spend money, it is almost always on things that I don't need hence why everything I purchased is still in bags, collecting dust. Having said that, impulsive spending also does make its way into necessary purchases that I need to make; an example being that I recently ran out of face primer and instead of just buying one bottle, I ordered three which was so ridiculous but I just can't always seem to stop myself. I think that one of the main reasons why I continue to shop impulsively is because it does make me feel better and it lifts my mood in the moment but that moment is soon forgotten when I don't even seem to remember buying the product let alone how it made me feel. Its safe to say that it is a bit of a problem, but its not the worst problem to have because the money that I am spending is my own and I'm not getting myself into debt over it but I'm also very aware that it can lead to getting into debt into the future.

On the other hand, I am noticing that my impulsive behaviour is improving which is why I think it is important to take time to reflect on what you've spent money on and what was necessary and what wasn't. One thing that I have learned is that sales are a massive trigger for me to impulsively spend money because I always think that I am getting a 'bargain' and I get excited, carried away and then before I know it the damage is done when in reality, I'm not getting a bargain at all because I wouldn't have bought the item full price anyway. As far as the damage that I spent in the sales goes, it was quite horrendous but everything was 50% off, so I got carried away and one of the things that I got completely obsessed with was buying high end makeup brushes even though I did not need anymore and I ended up spending £90 on sets and single brushes at half price; a grand total of 25 brushes that I have no space for but I now can't bare to get rid of them because I've grown attached and they are good brushes - a mare and a half.

I hope that you have enjoyed and possibly benefited from this post but to conclude, I do have some tips that I have learnt along the way that really helps to prevent me impulsively spending money (some of the time anyway) and the three main tips that I have are to:

  • Avoid shops that you usually spend money in - I often have to go into the city for College and I now resist going into any of the shops, it was difficult at first but now it is normal and its only vary rarely that I actually go shopping.
  • Do a lap of the shop before proceeding to purchase the product in your hand - this has been the biggest game changer for me as before, I'd quickly browse the shop, find some things I like and buy them whereas now, walking around the shop gives me time to reflect on how much money the items will cost, if I need them, if I'll use them and what I could spend the money on if I didn't purchase them.
  • Only pay with cash - this has also been a big step for me because going into the shop, finding something I like, then having to go and get cash out to buy the product before returning to the shop often gives me enough time to realise that I don't really need the product. This step might not be useful to everyone because you'll still have your card with you so you could still buy the product straight away but when I am feeling impulsive, I have it as a little rule that I can only buy the product with cash.
Thank-you for reading, Tay x

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