Understanding Restraint and Moderation

Restraint: 1) the act of controlling by restraining someone or something 2) discipline in personal and social activities
WordNet Search | http://wordnetweb.princeton.edu

Moderation: 1) quality of being moderate and avoiding extremes 2) easing: a change for the better 3) temperance: the trait of avoiding excesses
WordNet Search | http://wordnetweb.princeton.edu

  • Restraint/Moderation is self-control — using willpower with oneself and one's actions.
  • Restraint/Moderation is holding back — displaying even temperance of one's emotions.
  • Restraint/Moderation is balance — seeking the middle of the road at all times.
  • Restraint/Moderation is economy — consistent balanced distribution of energy and efforts.
  • Restraint/Moderation is reserve — holding back and conserving in order to avoid wastefulness.

Benefits of Restraint and Moderation

  • Restraint/Moderation provide stability — by keeping things on an even, moderate keel.
  • Restraint/Moderation provide discipline — as we learn to hold back and resist indulgences.
  • Restraint/Moderation provide strength — by demonstrating self-control, we learn that we can count on ourselves in all situations.
  • Restraint/Moderation provide security — living with limits and restrictions so there is always something in reserve for times we will need it.
  • Restraint/Moderation provide patience — through forbearance we learn to tolerance and moderation.

Acts of Restraint and Moderation in Everyday Life

  • The Bible — "Let your forbearance be known onto all men. The Lord is at hand." Phillippians 4:5 In more recent versions of the Bible, the word "gentleness" replaces forbearance, clearly demonstrating the significance of learning self-control.
  • Harms of Excess — Our society is filled with multitudes of living examples of the harms of various excesses. Some of the more common ones: excess of alcohol, excess of food, excess of work. Restraint helps us learn to moderate our excessiveness.
  • Day Care Workers — Daily, we 'hand over' our young children to others so we can go to work and take care of things we need to in order to afford to live. These people exhibit restraint and control with other people's children, day after day, under some very stressful conditions.
  • Politicians and Diplomats — Sometimes in the face of very stressful circumstances, politicians the world over learn to handle themselves in a manner that keeps up with what is proper and sound.
  • Positive Parenting — Being able to maintain an even attitude and demeanor is perhaps one of the most challenging aspects of parenting. Restraint keeps us steady and consistent, no matter what stage or phase our children are going through. And our children rely and learn from that consistency and even-temper.

Methods for Achieving Restraint and Moderation

  • Develop Strong Coping Skills — Strive for action. A moving target is much more difficult to hit.
  • Do Your Thinking on Paper — Systematic thinking helps keep emotions at bay and out of the way of distorting things.
  • Improve Stress Management Skills — By learning how to keep stress in perspective, we can remain at the top of our 'game' in all that we do.
  • Live Life With a Purpose — By having a distinctive purpose, we are more able to stay focused and driven, maintaining self-control and restraint when we need to in order to achieve our goals.
  • Learn the Difference Between Urgent and Important — By developing a keen sense of prioritization, we can devote energy and efforts into those things that really matter, and are not as easily swayed or pulled into those that are not.

Golden Mean

Restraint and Moderation

Quotes for Restraint and Moderation

You have to decide what your highest priorities are and have the courage — pleasantly, smilingly, nonapologetically — to say 'no' to other things.  And the way to do that is by having a bigger 'yes' burning inside.  The enemy of the 'best' is often the 'good.'
- Stephen Covey -
The best day of your life is the one on which you decide your life is your own. No apologies or excuses. No one to lean on, rely on, or blame. The gift is yours — it is an amazing journey — and you alone are responsible for the quality of it. This is the day your life really begins.
- Bob Moawad -
It's all right letting yourself go, as long as you can get yourself back.
- Mick Jagger -
It is a man's own mind, not his enemy or foe, that lures him to evil ways.
- Buddha -
Self-respect is the root of discipline:  The sense of dignity grows with the ability to say no to oneself.
- Abraham Joshua Heschel -

Recommended Reading

The Practicing Mind: Bringing Discipline and Focus Into Your Life — by Thomas M. Sterner

A powerful short and simple book with a 'cut-to-the-chase' style that helps readers find a way to improve their quality of life. What more could one ask for than that?

The Skinny on Willpower, How to Develop Self Discipline — by Jim Randel

Set in the tone of earlier "The Skinny On" books, Mr. Randel presents very pertinent, significant information about self-control and willpower in his unique ‘internet/cell phone user-friendly" way. Humor and illustrations help take this complicated topic and make it bite-sized and every day understandable.

General Rules

Practice virtues daily so that they become ‘habits of the heart’.

Don‘t strive for perfection.

Never give up! Remember: even the greats have off days.

Rely on your intuition.

Avoid extremes. Strive to achieve the golden mean between excess and deficiency of a virtue.

Have fun and enjoy the program with humor and optimism.

Remove severe restraint and what will become of virtue? Seneca