All About Self-Control

Self-control separates us from our ancient ancestors and the rest of the animal kingdom, thanks to our large prefrontal cortex. It is the ability to subdue our impulses in order to achieve longer-term goals. Rather than responding to immediate impulses, we can plan, evaluate alternative actions, and, often enough, avoid doing things we'll later regret. The ability to exert self-control is typically called willpower. It is what allows us to direct our attention, and it underlies all kinds of achievement. There is significant debate in science as to whether or not willpower is a finite resource. Studies demonstrate that exercising willpower makes heavy demands on mental energy, notably on reserves of glucose, the brain's preferred fuel, creating ego depletion. It's one reason we're more apt to reach for that chocolate chip cookie when we're feeling stressed than when we're feeling on top of the world. Recently, scientists have failed to replicate some of the studies underlying the concept of ego depletion, and more research is underway.

Recent posts on Self-Control

Pixabay

You Are Not Your Circumstances

Start treating yourself like you’d treat a good friend and separating who you are from what happens to you with these 4 steps
stevepb/Pixabay

Five Tips and Skills to Manage Your Time That Actually Work

In today’s hectic, connected world it seems like we should be busy 24/7 just to keep up. Learn how to honor your goals and protect your time so you can achieve them.

Seven Daily Behaviors Conscientious People Avoid

By Caroline Beaton on May 22, 2017 in The Gen-Y Guide
For millennials struggling to adapt to the real world, as I did, embodying this trait could be the key to a successful, happy adulthood.

How Am I Supposed to Feel?

“Take a deep breath and walk away” is advice that often translates as “continue to take it.”

Keep Your Cool! How to Stop Meltdowns in Their Tracks

By Meg Selig on May 18, 2017 in Changepower
Do you sometimes have meltdowns when faced with the daily hassles of life? Here are 12 ways to get back in control and feel better about yourself.

When Discipline Worsens Performance in Competitive Sports

Harsh parenting behaviour burdens the child, hindering performance.

What You Should Be Thinking When You Argue With Your Partner

Do you argue with your partner often? A little self-awareness can go a long way.
By Quinn Dombrowski from Chicago, USA - Boredom, CC BY-SA 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=11201756

Stress and Addiction

There is solid evidence for the link between chronic stress and the motivation to abuse addictive substances.
Thomas Webb

Leaving the Road to Hell and Getting Back on Track

By Thomas Webb Ph.D. on May 08, 2017 in The Road to Hell
Can being kind to ourselves help us to get back on track?

Should You Visit an Anger Room?

Is it helpful to engage in destruction in order to manage our anger?

A New (and Deeper) Perspective on Creativity

How do you activate your psychological six-pack?

The Pros and Cons of Youth Sports Aren’t Only Physical

Are sports helping or hurting your child’s emotional well-being?
PKpix/Shutterstock

Being a Grown Up: 8 Essential Skills

What does it mean to be adult, grown-up? It starts by asking yourself that question. Some thoughts and the skills you need to get there

Helping Other People With Their Problems Helps You Too

By Art Markman Ph.D. on May 03, 2017 in Ulterior Motives
When you experience sadness, anxiety, or depression, it is helpful to reach out to other people for help. Why does this help?
Carl Pickhardt Ph. D.

Communicating About Emotion Between Parent and Adolescent

Because adolescence can be a more abrasive and intense time for parent and teenager, it's important to communicate about emotions well.

Thinking Through Anxiety

Think. Rethink. Repeat.

The Ambience of a Restaurant Controls What We Eat and Drink

Serving tasty food doesn’t do a restaurant much good if customers don’t stay long enough – or never even walk through the door in the first place. How do restaurants entice us?

Is "Your Relationship" Another Reason to Drink Coffee?

Our everyday experiences, like how much sleep we get and whether we drink caffeine, may affect our relationship satisfaction.
By Georging at the German language Wikipedia, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=11717544

Seeing the Bigger Picture Can Promote Self-Control

From a distant perspective one sees the forest, but from a proximal perspective one sees trees.

Daily Routines of Creative People

By Paul Thagard Ph.D. on April 27, 2017 in Hot Thought
Most people have daily routines and rituals. According to a recent book, mornings are important productive times for many famous writers and other creative people.

4 Steps to Build Self-Discipline and Willpower in Students

By Tim Elmore on April 27, 2017 in Artificial Maturity
There's nothing more common than finding students who are loaded with potential, yet end up severely under-performing. So how do we cultivate willpower and self-discipline in them?

Research Shows What Makes Trolls Tick on Mobile Dating Apps

By Grant H. Brenner M.D. on April 25, 2017 in ExperiMentations
Internet trolls are everywhere. What draws them to dating apps and how can you deal with them?

Struggling With Temptation?

By Katherine Hawley Ph.D. on April 25, 2017 in Trust
Is it better to battle temptation, or to never be tempted at all?

How Smart Is My Child?

By Stuart Shanker DPhil on April 24, 2017 in Self-Reg
When we measure a child’s “intelligence,” the score we arrive at is a product of the interaction between thinking processes and limbic brakes.

Femme Fatale: Sexy Women Sway Men to Do Bad Things

Do sexy women send a man's moral compass haywire? New research shows that exposure to sexy images makes a man more likely to cheat, lie, and steal.

How to Cope With Trump Anxiety

If you’ve been nervous or anxious since the election, you’re not alone.

Please Yell at Me

By Asa Don Brown Ph.D. on April 21, 2017 in Towards Recovery
Have you ever found yourself uncontrollably yelling?

The O’Reilly Factor: Men, Power, and Sexual Abuse

Love him or hate him, Bill O’Reilly had the ear of America. He’s rich and famous, and we seem to have a different set of rules for those folks.

6 Myths About Women and Addiction

While biology and circumstances affect who is at risk for addiction in both sexes, gender can shape how trauma, loss and family influence that risk.
used with permission from iclipart.com

Which Is "Crazier?"

How does a forensic psychologist tease out the mind of a criminal defendant at the time he committed it? Debunking one myth - and investigating one source - at a time.