Self-Regulation | Character Strength | VIA Institute

Become Aware Of Your Strength

Understand what self-regulation is all about so you can begin recognizing it in yourself and others.
What is Self-Regulation?

Self-Regulation is a complex character strength. It has to do with controlling your appetites and emotions and regulating what you do. Those high in self-regulation have a good level of confidence in their belief that they can be effective in what they pursue and are likely to achieve their goals. They are admired for their ability to control their reactions to disappointment and insecurities. Self-regulation helps keep a sense of balance, order, and progress in life. Self-Regulation can be viewed as a resource that can be depleted and fatigued. A useful metaphor can be that self-regulation acts like a muscle, which can be exhausted through over-exertion or strengthened through regular practice.

Which virtue is this strength?
Self-Regulation is a strength within the virtue category of temperance, one of six virtues that subcategorize the 24 strengths. Temperance describes strengths that help you manage habits and protect against excess. The other strengths in Temperance are forgiveness , humility , prudence , and self-regulation .
What the Science Says

Research findings on the benefits of the strength of Self-Regulation found people with high self-control report fewer symptoms of anxiety and depression, are better able to control anger, and generally get along better with people. Children who are most successful at delaying gratification early in life are more successful academically and socially, and that success is long-lasting. Self-regulation is linked with better personal adjustment, such as having fewer physical and psychological problems and having a greater sense of self-acceptance and self-esteem in relationships.

Explore Your Strength

Reflect on how you’ve used self-regulation in the past, in everyday life and during special or critical times.

Questions to Help You Understand Your Strength Better
  • How does self-regulation play a role in your greatest successes in life?
  • What areas of your life are best regulated?
  • How does self-regulation affect your tolerance for situations that are vague or unpredictable?
Examples of this Strength in Action

Wondering about times that you may be using this strength? Here are a few examples of self-regulation at work in the world.

  • Sticking with an exercise or walking routine and involving one of your close relationships in the discipline.
  • Making a to-do list for a neighborhood or community-oriented event, coming up with an action plan, and carrying it out.
  • Organizing your daily life more effectively. Thinking of better ways to organize your kitchen, or your morning preparations then applying these organizing principles.

Apply Your Strength

How can you make the most of self-regulation in your everyday life? In the moments that matter most? Here are some ideas.
  • Next time you get upset, make a conscious effort to control your emotions and focus on positive attributes.
  • Set goals to improve your everyday living (e.g., room cleaning, laundry, doing dishes, cleaning your desk) and make sure you complete the tasks.
  • Pay close attentions to your biological clock. Do your most important tasks when you are most alert.