What willpower is
The willpower response is a reaction to an internal conflict. You want to do one thing, but know you shouldn’t. Or you know you should do something, but you’d rather do nothing.
How willpower works in the brain
The prefrontal cortex, the part of the brain that helps us with things like decision-making and regulating our behavior, needs to be looked after.
Feed your brain with good-quality food so it has enough energy to do its job and get enough sleep.
Willpower is finite
Willpower is like a muscle—it can get exhausted by overuse, but we might be able to strengthen our willpower by training it.
Increase your capacity for pressure
Our prefrontal cortex loses out in the battle for our energy when high-stress is involved.
Learn how to manage your stress. Stop to take a few deep breaths when you feel overwhelmed or tempted.
“I can’t” vs “I don’t”
Every time you tell yourself “I can’t”, you’re indicating that you’re forcing yourself to do something you don’t want to do.
Tell yourself “I don’t do that” instead. You’re punishing yourself by saying “I can’t,” because that is a reminder of your limitations.
Get enough sleep
Your brain manages energy better when you get enough sleep.
Sleep deprivation causes the prefrontal cortex to lose control over the regions of the brain that create cravings and the stress response.Sleep between 6.5 hours and 7.5 hours every night.
Meditation has also been linked to increasing the reserve of willpower we have available. Brain changes have been observed after eight weeks of brief daily meditation training.
Postpone things for later
If you’re trying to break a bad habit, tell yourself“not now, but later.” People who do this are generallyless afflicted by the temptation of something they are trying to avoid.
Regular physical exercise can make us more resilient to stress;relaxing, mindful exercise like yoga and intense physical training can provide these benefits.