How Ego Depletion Can Sabotage Your Willpower - Deepstash
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Ego Depletion

Ego Depletion

Ego depletion happens when people use up their available willpower on one task.

We all have natural urges, desires, and tendencies that demand attention. When we curb those urges, it requires willpower. Even small decisions to delay gratification require huge mental, emotional, and cognitive effort. As willpower is a limited resource, when it is used up, we experience mental exhaustion and fatigue.

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Self Control

People having a high level of self-control experience better relationships and have higher achievement levels. Lack of self-control is associated with social conflict and low-grade academic performance.

Example: While following a diet regime, a person spends a lot of willpower the whole day trying to avoid junk food, but by the end of the day, all his mental energy has been exhausted, and there is no self-control left, resulting in snacking on unhealthy food.

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Causes of Ego Depletion

Many emotional and physical factors contribute to ego depletion, like:

  • Emotional distress
  • Struggling to learn something new
  • Mental fatigue due to anxiety
  • Low levels of blood sugar
  • Too much choice
  • Conflicting beliefs and actions (cognitive dissonance)
  • Heart Rate
  • Hormonal imbalance
  • Being young and immature.

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Dieting and social behaviors

  • Chronic dieters seem to be more prone to ego depletion as they apply their limited willpower on controlling their food intake, therefore being more likely to lose their self-control when temptation strikes.
  • Ego depletion makes people feel less guilty, making them less likely to be empathetic or helpful towards others.

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Decision Making

The huge amount of choices that a consumer makes while shopping can lead to ego depletion, as they become mentally exhausted and overwhelmed.

This leads to the consumer picking something without much thought, like just the lower-priced one, or a familiar brand.

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Mental Performance

.. requires mental toughness and determination. When willpower is exhausted due to challenging mental tasks, it leads to physical exhaustion.

Example: Students having a tough exam before a game might perform poorly in the activity.

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Addictions

Depletion of self-control can make people impulsively consume addictive drugs like alcohol or tobacco.

If all the willpower is exhausted in other tasks, the person is more likely to give in to the temptation.

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Prevention of Ego Depletion

Prevention of Ego Depletion

  • Take steps to boost your mood.
  • Change your outlook and focus on the big picture.
  • Use positive self-affirmation to counter the effects of ego depletion.
  • Make sure you get proper sleep.
  • Practice deep breathing and mindfulness meditation.

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CURATED BY

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