Learn more about mentalhealth with this collection
How to strengthen your willpower
How to overcome temptation and distractions
The role of motivation in willpower
When you're stressed, the sympathetic nervous system takes over - also referred to as the "fight or flight system." It enables your body to respond quickly to perceived threats or stress. When this happens, your heart rate goes up and stays high, leading to feelings of anxiety and anger.
People with high levels of stress are more prone to poor self-control and focus. Stress will also shift your brain to a reward-seeking state: Whatever will make you happy at the moment will become a fixation. That is why people who are stressed are more likely to smoke, gamble, play video games, surf the internet or watch TV. The most effective stress-relief strategies include exercising, reading, listening to music, and spending time with loved ones.
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Willpower is the ability to resist or delay short-term desires to achieve long-term goals. Other names for willpower are self-discipline, self-control, self-regulation, determination, drive. Willpower consists of three things:
A willpower ch...
Meditation can train your brain for better self-control. Meditation increases your attention, focus, stress management, impulse control, and self-awareness.
When we practice a certain behavior, we strengthen the neural connections for that behavior, making it more accessib...
Our brain's normal functions, such as thinking, learning, and memory, relies on glucose. Exerting our willpower uses a considerable amount of this fuel, leaving our brains in a state of alert trying to attain normal blood sugar levels. The drop in blood sugar will generally leave us more and pron...
Two other major hindrances to self-control are:
When the PFC gets damaged, it can alter your personality and interfere with your willpower. One recorded case of damage to the PFC was in 1848, when an iron went straight into the skull of Phineas Gage, blowing away his PFC. He survived, but had a complete personality change, became irreveren...
Once we understand the root cause of our behaviors, it is easier to work towards our goals. One way is to improve our self-awareness. How many food choices do you make a day? While most people would guess around 14, studies reveal the average number is 227.
One study found that participants who focused on consistent exercise for two months ate less junk food and more healthy foods; they watched less television; they studied more; they saved more money; they procrastinated less.
Instead of considering how much exercise you need for re...
Allergic to Brazil nuts. And BS.
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With chronically elevated stress, your elevated cortisol levels lead to a surge of glucose in order to facilitate the perceived “fight-or-flight” situation you’re living in. Spiking glucose inherently leads to crashes.
Simple breathing exercises can switch off your sympathetic (fi...
The way we breathe can set off a cascade of physical changes in the body that promote either stress or relaxation.
Breathing impacts the sympathetic (“fight or flight”) and parasympathetic (“rest and digest”) branches of our nervous system, and certain techniques can p...
Your central nervous system (CNS) is in charge of your “fight or flight” response. In your brain, the hypothalamus gets the ball rolling, telling your adrenal glands to release the stress hormones adrenaline and cortisol . These hormo...
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