Self-Discipline & Mental Health | Natural Health Podcast

Date: 06/24/2011

Self-Control Study

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Do we have an unlimited potential supply of self-control, or is it truly possible to use it up and just run out after a while?  New research is suggesting that, in fact, we may all have a limited supply -- different for each person, of course.  When you exert a lot of self-control in one situation, you may have less available for later.  Therefore, at least according to the research, it might make sense to choose the times you use your self-control wisely, so you're not depleted at the wrong time.

The findings point toward self-control as sort of a finite pie, and the larger the slices you use up, the less is left until the tin is empty…until some time later when you get to refill it.  So in other words, when you know you are going to be needing your self-control to be at maximum levels, such as watching what you eat, not overspending during shopping, or even just being with someone who taxes your patience, you might want to take it easy beforehand.  Do something relaxing or at least nothing that will wear away at your self-control and deplete it before you need it most.

Whether you know yourself to realistically have a greater or lesser supply, you will benefit from not overburdening whatever self-control you possess, other than on "non-game" days -- so it's there when you truly need it.   Listen to Jon's health podcast on how to have a healthy amount of self-control so that you can lead a healthier life!


    Submitted by Mark on
    December 24, 2012 - 4:51am

    I've suspected this, having soul searched for eons. Lost my job due to this very thing - having just received a raise two weeks prior. I was and am fed up in having to "walk on egg shells" all day around employers who are overly concerned with bright dispositions. They want Happy slaves. Knew I'd snap eventually due to the micro management. Also knew it was Entirely based on timing and whim. I could've done the exact same thing maybe an hour later and it would have been a non issue... This of course makes for a totally unfair and rather impossible situation. This has happened four times now!! We are talking very trivia happenstances. These folks don't take Anything now. Just smiles and servitude with zest.

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