Willpower is defined as something that originates from the brain and the body. It is a response brought upon by a conflict that’s happening internally. For instance, you want to smoke or drink soda for the tenth time during the day, but you know you shouldn’t. Or you know you’re supposed to do something, such as exercise or take your dog for a walk, but you don’t. Your willpower is basically involved in all your decision-making processes from the tiniest things in your life.
When it comes to making choices and controlling behavior, the part of the brain that’s responsible is the prefrontal cortex. Your self-control or willpower is, thus, managed in this section of the brain. In order to be effectual at regulating your urges and creating reasonable choices, this section of the brain requires care. This means nourishing it with healthy food and getting adequate sleep so it has sufficient energy to function.
Nonetheless, people’s willpower isn’t infinite. We tend to run out of it once we’ve already exhausted so much. Hence, self-control can be comparable to the muscle in a way that it can get exhausted by excessive use. But just like the muscles, the willpower can also be strengthened by training it. Here are scientifically-proven ways to boost your willpower:
1. Heighten your aptitude for difficulties
To begin, you’re first required to manage your stress levels. When you’re under pressure, your body’s energy is exhausted in acting on impulse and creating decisions based on short-lived results. This depletes the energy in the prefrontal cortex since high levels of stress is in the picture.
To manage your stress levels and ultimately boost your willpower, you can stop to take those seemingly trivial yet essential few deep breaths when you’re feeling overpowered by things you deem to be out of your control. You think the issues that surround you are huge and almost hopeless, but all it really takes is a pause to take a deep breath.
2. Push yourself to commit to your plan
A study shows that affirming yourself can help you increase your willpower, especially when you’re running out of it. A good technique is to use the phrase “I don’t” instead of “I can’t”. When you tell yourself that you can’t, you’re making a feedback cycle that makes you think of your constraints.
This phrase signifies that you’re only forcing yourself to accomplish a certain deed you’re not happy about. So tell yourself that you don’t do a certain poor habit rather than remind yourself of your restriction by saying you can’t.
3. Get more sleep so your brain can manage energy more efficiently
Getting adequate shut-eye makes a huge difference to how effectually your prefrontal cortex functions. Sleep deprivation, typically less than six hours per night, is a form of chronic stress that damages how the body and brain utilize energy. If your sleeping issues are not addressed, your prefrontal cortex suffers, so it loses power over the sections of the brain that produce cravings. The stress response is also comprised as a result.
4. Practicing meditation
Meditation has been associated to augmenting supply of self-control that’s accessible to one’s self. This practice has also been proven to enhance attention, concentration, and self-awareness. It even makes one more equipped to manage stress. In fact, it’s been observed that there are improvements in the brain if you meditate everyday for at least eight weeks.
5. Proper nutrition and working out regularly
These two are often overlooked as effective ways to boost one’s willpower. But eating a clean and a healthy diet, as well as exercising on a regular basis can help you become more resilient to stress. When you’re stress-proof, you’re also improving your self-control.
In fact, the simple act of eating a plant-based diet instead of consuming fast food makes energy more accessible to the brain, which enhances every aspect of self-control.
Exercise, specifically, can make you happier by secreting endorphins. These chemicals are inclined to lessen the discomfort of exercise, obstruct the sensation of pain, and are even linked to feeling euphoric.