Bangkok Hypnosis

How to Exercise Self Control When Facing a Challenge

Posted by Sun on August 13, 2011

here is a limit to willpower. Psychologist Roy Baumeister asked some people to eat radishes while trying to solve a difficult puzzle, while others received freshly baked chocolate chip cookies. The radish eaters lasted half as long as those eating the cookies. This study explains why many of us tend to gain weight as students, or drink during difficult times. We’ve used up our willpower on meeting the challenge of must-do activities, and have little will left to cope with temptation. Here’s how to overcome this problem.


    • 1

      Understand the emotional limits of self control. We sometimes use the expression “I feel drained.” This feeling is more than being tired. It is a recognition that we’ve tapped the last of our resources, that we need to replenish. If you look at the term “recreation” in its truest sense, it means that we are finding the emotional space to re-create our personalities to tackle the challenges we face. It’s a different concept from relaxation, which is closer to exhalation in what it does for us physiologically. To avoid exhausting our self control, it makes sense to limit the number of demanding tasks we undertake at the same time. Think of it as drawing on a limited willpower budget.

    • 2

      Grasp the biology of willpower. According to Sandra Aamodt, the editor of Nature Neuroscience, and Professor Sam Wang at Princeton, planning and self control are two mental activities directly linked to small changes in blood sugar. In a different study, subjects who drank a glass of sugared lemonade between two tasks requiring willpower did equally well on each, while those who drank sugarless lemonade made more errors on the second task. It’s a trick endurance athletes have employed for years to rise to their challenges by drinking glucose-rich Gatorade.

    • 3

      Learn how this realization applies to a real life challenge. Let’s take limiting food intake as a example of a challenge that most of us should now tackle. Since dieting requires willpower, these two studies explain why diets fail so often. They are very hard to start or maintain in tough times. This finding explains the origin of the term “comfort food,” which emphasizes neither taste nor nutrition, but emotional fulfillment. If you can focus your willpower on a diet, the key to success is in finding a way to maintain a constant level of blood sugar while restricting calories. Higher protein diets, like The Zone or Atkins, incorporate food that is more slowly digested than a diet with a larger percentage of carbohydrates, forestalling hunger longer. Unfortunately, according to the scientific evidence, the Atkins Diet is not conducive to long term heart health.

    • 4

      Balance tasks that require willpower with the joys in achieving them. Take mountain climbing as a metaphor. At first the trail is demanding, without immediate reward, yet willpower alone can carry us up the slope, until we reach the first view. This is the time to take a breather and relax while we replenish our energy, to soak in the emotional reward of the path that we are taking. Only by balancing joy, relaxation and recreation can we ever hope to muster the willpower to achieve the most from our lives.


I am medical doctor and hypnotherapist with more than 17 years experience. Feel free to send me email ( to discuss your situation.

Related Articles

Self Control Is An Art

Five simple exercises for improving your willpower (self control)

Seeking Balance for Self Control

Aspects That Aid in Controlling Oneself in Self Control

Different Techniques of Self Control

Body Talks in Self Control

Self Control in Disciplinary Actions

Self Control and Life

Self Control and Consciousness

Self Control

Self Control and Receptivity

Emotions in Self Control

Self-Control, and Lack of Self-Control, Is Contagious

Self control Quotes

How Self-Control Works


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: