What Can Be Done to Boost Willpower? An Expert reveals to us the Answer

By Rebecca Lewis on April 16, 2012

Just like muscles, willpower gets tired when overused. And like energy, it gets drained and used up as the day ends. But then, it is something that can be restored. On her latest book, Kelly McGonigal, a psychologist from the Stanford University, shares to us how self control works and what can be done to get more of it.

1.       Reality TV Shows

As we go along the activities for the day, our willpower tends to drop just like our enthusiasm, energy, and strength. It drops to a certain point where we can no longer make good choices. However, you can bring back some of your willpower. And one way to do that, as suggested by McGonigal, is to watch reality TV shows. Research shows that willpower can be contagious. Meaning, you can get some of it just by seeing another person pursue a goal. Whether it’s a cooking showdown, a singing contest, obstacle race, or any kind of challenging game, we somehow feel motivated when we see other people working hard to win. According to McGonigal, a little of entertainment inspiration can help us find your own strength and finally, improve our self-control. 

2.       Sweet Snacks

As McGonigal puts it, the brain spends most of its energy on willpower than on anything else. Here’s the thing – when your blood sugar drops, so does your energy level. Now, what could be a better way to re-energise than having energy booster snacks? Sweet foods like cakes, chocolates, and sweets are said to increase blood sugar. Nonetheless, you may want to choose healthier snacks like fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grain cereals, pastas, and more. 

3.       Cute YouTube Videos

Sometimes, it is easy to get carried away by loads of work that in the middle of it, you can no longer think properly. So when you feel so overwhelmed, it pays to stop for awhile and watch some funny videos on the internet. It can be a hilarious baby video or a group of guys cracking jokes – anything that can make you smile and lighten up your mood. 

4.       Power Nap

Even the busiest people take a power nap in the afternoon to recharge their energy. Sleeping in the afternoon for 1-2 hours has a lot of health benefits. The reason why we are more active during mornings is because our brain has been refreshed by sleep. Sleeping in middle of the day is known to improve mood, enhance focus, and reduce stress. 

5.       A Cup of Coffee

Caffeine has always been associated to different diseases but it’s not all evil. When taken in adequate amount, caffeine helps reduce stress and boost the nervous system, making you more alert and active. Furthermore, coffee helps the brain utilise energy more efficiently. However, we should limit our coffee intake to a smaller amount and as much as possible, reduce sugar and cream as they can add up to your calorie intake.

Do you know of more ways to improve willpower? Feel free to share your comments below.

 

Sources for this article:

The Willpower Instinct: How Self-Control Works, Why It Matters, and What You Can Do to Get More of It - by Kelly McGonigal

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