All About Self-Control

Self-control separates us from our ancient ancestors and the rest of the animal kingdom, thanks to our large prefrontal cortices. Rather than responding to immediate impulses, we can plan, we can evaluate alternative actions, and we can refrain from doing things we'll regret. We can also take advantage of these innately human abilities by developing wisdom and willpower.

Recent Posts on Self-Control

Mind Control: Psychology by the Numbers?

By Seth Slater M.F.A. on November 28, 2015 The Dolphin Divide
How addition and subtraction affect our behavior. Are we truly in charge of our own choices, or does simple math routinely intrude to manipulate our mental equations? Just who or what is in control of our minds?

Holiday Bullies: The Dangers of Overindulging Your Kids

Buying too many gifts for your kids during the holiday? Here's why you want to stop.

8 Ways to Eat Mindfully During the Holidays

By Susan Albers Psy.D. on November 25, 2015 Comfort Cravings
It's not easy to eat mindfully during the holidays! Here are a few simple psychological tips that can help you avoid overeating while still mindfully eating holiday foods you love like pumpkin pie and sugar cookies.

All Electronic Devices Should Be Off the Thanksgiving Table

These are kids for whom it is not unusual to make a quick leap from the first awakening of sexual awareness to the first consummation of sexual experience. They haven’t had to wait for anything else--why wait for that?

Forget Willpower: A Smarter Strategy to Resist Temptation

Just in time for the Holidays, with the endless parade of treats and snacks, a positive and appropriate method to fight temptation.

Want Your Kids to Start Listening to You? Stop Doing This!

A new, healthier way of looking at discipline.

Can Us Dieters Really Have Our Cake and Eat it, too?

By Gregg McBride on November 21, 2015 The Weight-ing Game
When working to get or stay healthy, any food and drink requires portion control. This is as true for green beans as it is for fresh-baked treats. That's what moderation is all about. And whether you incorporate moderation into your lifestyle before, during or after a diet, it's something you're going to want to master at some point.

Sugar on the Brain

By Linda Wasmer Andrews on November 20, 2015 Minding the Body
When your blood sugar is already a little elevated, it's even harder to resist reaching for a sweet treat.

Should You Boycott Holiday Baking?

Are you already stressed about the weight you'll gain over the holidays? Here's a simple tip that will go a long way: Stop baking. Say no to anything that involves bringing or exchanging sweet treats. Trust me, you'll thank me later.

Appetite for Risk: What Is Your Approach to Risk?

By Adrian Furnham Ph.D. on November 20, 2015 A Sideways View
People are quite different in their appetite for risk. Are "risky types" risky in all their behaviors: in the workplace, in their personal relationships, in the way they drive, in what they eat and drink?

5 Key Elements Of Sustainable Change

If you want to know whether someone will stick to a given goal (resolution) you will need to know how specific/realistic the goal, about his motivation, his level of confidence, and the strength of his willpower.

RID Yourself of Psychological Distress

By Tim Carey Ph.D. on November 19, 2015 In Control
When correcting any problem, the way in which the trouble is understood will have a large bearing on how effective and efficient the remediation efforts are.

You Can Beat Your Shopping Habit

By Temma Ehrenfeld on November 18, 2015 Open Gently
Resist the urge to buy stuff.

The Psychology of Food

By Marty Nemko Ph.D. on November 15, 2015 How To Do Life
As we enter the holidays, on harvesting maximum pleasure from eating and cooking.

The Reason You Are Needy

By Marcia Reynolds Psy.D. on November 14, 2015 Wander Woman
The reason you are needy is because social needs fuel your drive to connect with others and succeed. This post will teach you how to identify your needs so you can feed them instead of reacting negatively when they aren't met.

Chimpanzees Pass the Marshmallow Test

By David Ludden Ph.D. on November 13, 2015 Talking Apes
Over the last few decades, research has shown that our primate cousins are much closer to us in mental capacities than we’d previously thought.

Six Thanksgiving Traps and How to Avoid Them

By Marty Nemko Ph.D. on November 13, 2015 How To Do Life
Making sure you're not the Thanksgiving turkey.

Protecting Your Kids (and Yourself) Online

Ideally, whether intended to protect kids or contain adults, parental control software will stop many online problems from happening. That said, these products do not guarantee smooth sailing. In reality, even the best software can’t stop everything. Plus, a persistent and tech-savvy user (of any age) can nearly always find ways to circumvent both the filtering and the acc

Self-Control—The Weak Link in the Psychological Chain?

By Sherry Hamby Ph.D. on November 10, 2015 The Web of Violence
Stories of what inspired people to find the strength to turn their life around.

Rushing Through Life

Despite all the planning, scheduling and multitasking, for so many of us there never seems to be enough time anymore. We run non-stop around the clock, dividing our attention among millions of things, constantly scrambling for more time. If you want to slow down and take some of your life back, consider trying one (or more) of these approaches.

Training the Brain to Discipline Itself

By William R. Klemm Ph.D. on November 05, 2015 Memory Medic
Emotional working memory training improves the ability to suppress disturbing emotional responses.

Why Is It So Easy to Slip Back into Bad Habits?

By Seth J. Gillihan Ph.D. on November 03, 2015 Think, Act, Be
The right and wrong tracks of our lives run in parallel, and we can move between them faster than we think.

Why Does Music Get Stuck in My Head?

By Victoria Williamson on November 02, 2015 You Are the Music
Why does music repeat in my mind and can I stop it when it is annoying? The history of earworms goes back to at least 1876 in common knowledge but new research is revealing how we might combat our unwanted earworms and harness the sticky tunes that could help us learn.

Are You Passionate or Intolerant in Your Beliefs?

None of us like to be preached at. How can we tell if we're open to others or simply speaking to ourselves?

On Stress, Anxiety, and Procrastination

Are you tired of feeling drained by anxiety and stress? Use calming solutions to bring about meaningful changes.

Five Reasons People Abuse their Partners

Why do some people abuse their partners? The answers will surprise you. A therapist who runs a treatment program for abusive partners writes about why many people behave abusively in their intimate relationships.

Why We Care About Self-Esteem, And What Matters Even More

Three things that provide the gifts that Self-Esteem promised but couldn’t keep

How to Simplify Your Decision-Making by Using Rules of Thumb

By Alice Boyes Ph.D. on October 26, 2015 In Practice
Using rules of thumb to guide your everyday decision-making can increase your productivity and preserve your willpower. Find out how to develop some easy rules that work for your life.

The Law Of Unintended Consequences

By Michael F. Kay on October 21, 2015 Financial Life Focus
You begin with an idea that sounds great, at least to you. Then suddenly, without notice, a shift spins you in the other direction spelling d-i-s-a-s-t-e-r.

'Grit' Training for Babies?

By Darcia Narvaez Ph.D. on October 18, 2015 Moral Landscapes
The idea of “grit” is hot right now. Schools and businesses are taking up an emphasis on grit, the perseverance to get a job done. Is it good for babies? Nope, and here’s why.