How we change what others think, feel, believe and do
When your self-control is depleted, spend time with friends and family with who you get on easily. Relax and chat about inconsequential things. Just enjoy their company and being able to say what you feel without having to self-censor or otherwise spend energy to control yourself. See how they appreciate and like you. Notice how they listen and enjoy your company. Know you are valued and have a place in the world.
When people are not around, you can also use a 'social surrogate' such as reading or watching a familiar TV show. Again, relax and enjoy the simple predictability of it, knowing that the good guys will win as they should.
I have had a stressful day at work, keeping my cool while dealing with some difficult people. Back home, I relax with my family and soon feel ready to face problems at work again tomorrow.
A geeky student finds it difficult interacting with other people. They watch science fiction as a way of de-stressing and restoring their sense of self.
People can both drain and restore self-control. When we are with those who are difficult or who are exerting authority over us, we have to hold back on what we would really like to say and do, quite possibly in order to keep our jobs. Spending time with people we like and with who we can relax has the opposite effect, restoring self-control.
Social restoration works not only through showing we are more in control and so boosting confidence, it also is a simple way of relaxing and letting our self-control restore itself. Beyond this, when others affirm us we not only get there faster, we also can go beyond to a state of boosted confidence.
Derrick (2013) used trials and a self-reporting diary to show that people would seek fictional worlds after having to exert effortful self-control.
Derrick, J. (2013). Energized by Television: Familiar Fictional Worlds Restore Self-Control, Social Psychological and Personality Science, 4, 3, 299-305
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