Of all the things in too small a quantity, but good in our lives, self-control is probably in the first place for most of us. And no, that’s not a local perception. In a study conducted in 54 countries, self-control was placed last. Moreover, its lack is not only on my list and yours with things to improve. The ability to control our feelings, emotions and reactions is missing or disappears in critical situations and at the highest levels. A recent public example has been the debate between Donald Trump and Joe Biden, in which none of the candidates was left behind when it came to closing the other’s mouth.
Self-control seems to be the key to a quieter and more fulfilling life. Unfortunately, self-control resources seem to be limited. Kelly McGonigal said in The Willpower Instinct: How Self-Control Works, Why It Matters, and What We Can Do to Get More of It, “Trying to control your temper, to stick to a budget, or to refuse something uses the same resource. And because with each act of will, its power diminishes, the use of self-control implicitly leads to its loss … if you refuse that tempting tiramisu, it may be more difficult for you to concentrate when you return to the office.”
How do we not exhaust these valuable resources without saying Yes to all the juicy almonds that appear in front of us? Willpower training can become a routine, just like training for any other muscle group. And no, it’s not just about almonds! Applies to any other cakes!
1. Look at the big picture
Studies show that abstract thinking as a whole improves self-control. In short, people will exercise their self-control more easily when they see beyond the trees than when they get stuck in the reeds.
For example, if you are working on a long-term project, frustration will arise in the face of the multitude of small steps that must be taken to reach the end. Self-control returns to position when we constantly remember what the ultimate goal is.
2. Good sleep has only benefits
A study of the University of Washington indicates that lack of sleep leads to the release of glucose from the prefrontal cortex, thus depleting the fuel needed for self-control. Sleep restores him. In practice, study participants who were sleep-deprived were less creative, made more mistakes, and were more likely to “skip the procedure” or even falsify documents.
In the context of working from home, it is extremely important to know when we say it Stop job and we rest. The myth of those who sleep little and have fabulous results do not apply to everyone. It is important to be rested so that you can concentrate and be efficient. After all, it doesn’t just matter how much you do, but how well you do it.
It is said that we should try to control our impulses, fight temptations and actively exercise our will. Studies show that these popular beliefs are far from the truth. Researchers at the University of Illinois found that people who use words that suggest action, such as “start” or “continue,” were more likely than others to make impulsive decisions that undermine their long-term goals. Instead, those prepared for “rest” or “stop” managed to avoid these decisions. “Our research,” says Dr. Dolores Albarracín, “suggests that a relaxed state is better for inhibiting temptations.” This could have an impact on how we manage people. Pushing them to “move on” leads them to risky behavior or impulsive decisions.
4. Do some sport
The time for us is usually the one we cut from without the slightest regret. If self-control is a priority, however, you will need to include a few minutes of moderate-intensity exercise in your diary. The pre-frontal cortex is, as we said before, responsible for self-control, and the latest studies show that exercise that leads to increased blood and oxygen flow to it is beneficial to increase self-control.
5. Know yourself
The self-control of emotions or control of impulses is the cornerstones of emotional intelligence. And, the better we know our reactions and know in which situations we most often lose our temper, the easier it will be for us to manage these moments or to avoid them. Self-awareness precedes self-control, so any resource invested in this direction is a resource used effectively.
6. Avoid decisional fatigue
Willpower is closely related to the quality of our decisions. Roy F. Baumeister, the author of the book Willpower: Rediscovering The Greatest Human Strength notes that self-control resources are limited. After a series of decisions have been made, regardless of their importance, the capacity for self-control decreases. Fatigue at the decision level negatively influences their quality. And everyone’s reactions are the most varied: some prefer not to make any decisions, others make impulsive decisions or decisions that are not based on logic. It is recommended that you do not make decisions about important issues at the end of the day when you have exhausted most of your resources.
A study of court judges showed that decisions made at the end of the day are weaker than those made during the day. For the same purpose – conserving self-control, Steve Jobs always wears black jeans and shirts, and Obama only wears blue or gray suits. “I’m trying to reduce my decisions,” he told Vanity Fair. “I don’t want to make decisions about what I eat or wear. Because I have too many other decisions to make … ”
This is how important it is to focus on key decisions. The rest, from what I wear today, to what I eat or how I style my hair, must be activities that gradually become routine. Probably the great success of telework and the increase in productivity observed by employers in this context is also due to the relief of employees from the responsibility of making these small but energy-consuming decisions.
7. Use apps to relieve yourself of petty responsibilities
Closely related to the above, leave small decisions to others. If you can outsource expense management, reminders of any kind, try it. You already find a lot of extremely useful applications in this regard.
8. Eat chocolate, drink lemonade
In an interview with the American Psychological Association, Baumeister talks about the role of glucose in self-control. Glucose is the resource in the blood that carries energy to the brain, muscles and other organs or systems. “In simple terms,” he says, “glucose is fuel for the brain.” Self-control actions deplete the level of glucose in the blood. Low glucose levels can lead to poor performance in self-monitoring activities or in tests. ” Willpower can only be restored by increasing blood sugar levels. So, whether you’re eating a piece of chocolate or drinking lemonade, it’s important to keep your glucose levels under control.
Beyond all that, the most important thing is not to forget to put all these strategies to work. Increasing your level of emotional intelligence takes time, but the new habits you form will have remarkable long-term results. Certainly, every second invested in this direction is a second won!