Have you noticed the role willpower plays in your life? Have you tried to build up your own willpower?
Trying to lose weight, cut back on sugar, save more money, or prepare for a big test? If you’re like most Americans, you have struggled with the choices you make as you work toward a goal. Willpower is an essential element to success, and the good news is that it can be strengthened. Psychological scientists are learning new ways that people can build up their self-control and better practice delayed gratification.
To help everyone better understand what makes willpower work and how it can be improved, APA released a new report, “What You Need to Know about Willpower: The Psychological Science of Self-Control.”
Here are four things you can read more about in the report:
- Willpower is correlated with positive life outcomes such as better grades, higher self-esteem, lower substance abuse rates, greater financial security and improved physical and mental health.
- Willpower depletion has a physical basis. Individuals whose willpower has been depleted have decreased activity in a brain region involved with cognition, and have lower blood-glucose levels than do people whose willpower has not been diminished.
- Financial decision-making may be even more depleting for people living in poverty, since virtually all financial decisions are likely to represent difficult tests of self-control among people who are financially insecure.
- Just as muscles are strengthened by regular exercise, regularly exerting self-control may improve willpower strength over time.