4 Science-Backed Ways to Boost Your Willpower
Willpower can be an incredibly hard thing to maintain, especially when you are surrounded by temptation. When your willpower is depleted, it makes it difficult to always make the right decisions. However, learning the tools to self-control helps you in achieving those milestones you always wanted.
Fortunately, there are techniques that help in increasing your willpower. Here are a few ways to keep your mind in check:
- Postpone Your Desire
There is a way of tricking yourself into the right behavior. Instead of having what you want now, tell yourself that you will have it later. For example, if you want a brownie right now, tell yourself you will have it two hours later, or even just 20 minutes later. Often, after the time has passed, you will find you no longer have a desire for that temptation anymore.Furthermore, Nicole Mead of the Catolica-Lisbon School of Business and Economics believes that postponing desires work to reduce unhealthy behaviors. Mead states that reducing desire, rather than trying to increase willpower, is a more effective strategy to control cravings.When you postpone things, it gives your mind time to really think about the behavior and decide if it is something you really want. Most of the time, your desire is just temporary and fades away with time. Try it out the next time you feel like you have to do something. You will find that your brain had a cooling-off period that often leads to more no’s than yes.
- Flex Your Muscles
This is actually a very cool strategy. A theory states that by flexing your muscles, it reduces the amount of unpleasant feeling you have of denying yourself that pleasure you are craving. Iris W. Hung, a researcher at the National University of Singapore and University of Chicago, conducted a study in which he determined that when participants tightened their muscles, regardless of which muscles they tightened, they had a greater ability to withstand pain, consume unpleasant medicine and overcome tempting foods. The study revealed that flexing primes the mind and increases willpower.
- Create a Mental Image
During the Olympics, you will find some of the world’s most acclaimed athletes using mental imagery to go after their athletic challenges. Clearly, mental imagery works. According to a Harvard Study, people who imagine doing good things are better able to perform tasks of physical endurance. Even those who imagined bad things had better ensuring. Overall, the brain responds well when we used mental imagery. Try picturing yourself achieving all those goals you want to achieve. Think about how great you will feel crossing that milestone.In one part of the study, participants were given a dollar and told either to keep it or donate it to charity. Then, they were told to hold a five-pound weight for as long as they could. Those who donated to charity held the weight for an average of almost 10 seconds longer!
- Modify Your Environment
You can trick your mind by changing your environment. When it comes to eating, eat out of smaller containers. Your brain will think you are eating more food, even when you are not. In a study led by consumer psychologist Brian Wansink, he discovered that people eat and drink more out of bigger containers. When participants were told to eat off of salad plates, they tended to eat less overall than those who ate out of bigger plates.
Overall, it is fascinating to see how our mindset can change our behaviors. If you are struggling with willpower, try using some of these mind techniques to overcome your challenges in recovery. If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please do not wait. Call toll-free 1-800-777-9588.