Minimise ego depletion and increase your Self control

Posted on by in self control, Willpower



Discover how you can improve your self-control, through learning more about ego depletion, and how you can minimise it in your life.

What is ego depletion?

This term can be defined as your diminished ability to control your thoughts, feelings and behaviours. Therefore, if you need self-control to be able to get yourself to certain goals that you have set for yourself, then it’s going to be harder to do this if you’re in an ego-depleted state.

Why is ego depletion important for self control?

What studies have found, is that when you’re in this ego depleted state, you have intense cravings, which are often in direct contradiction to the goals you want to get to, such as dieting and you start craving sweets.

Ego depletion revisited.

Screen Shot 2013 08 10 at 2.15.58 PM 300x167 Minimise ego depletion and increase your Self control

It can be thought that when you wake up in the morning, you have a

certain amount of energy that is going to be drawn from throughout the day. You have a set amount and throughout the day that slowly trickles out, and what causes it to trickle out is all the willpower demands that are put on you throughout the day.

For example, you’ve got to get out of bed on a cold morning. You’ve got to fight the traffic to get to work. You have to do all the things at work and control yourself when people saying nasty things, or they ask you to do more work. And all these things keep on drawing from the energy that you have at the start of the day, and it can be said that you’re in an ego-depleted state. Also, the decisions you have to make every day also draw from this energy source.

How do you know if you are ego depleted?

There are two signs you might be in an ego-depleted state. Firstly, your reactions to stimuli becomes more intense. For example, a funny movie is going to make you laugh more, or something that’s sad in your life is going to affect you more emotionally. So, your intensity levels go right up on both scales.

So that’s the one sign, and the other sign is that your cravings go up. This is because as part of evolution, the brain wants to protect your mood. Therefore, it’ll turn on the reward system also know as the the dopamine system, which is, “I’m craving after quick thrills, like sugary sweets, and instant gratification,” such as messages from Facebook and Twitter, and emails.

Also, as part of this, what happens to the brain when it turns on the reward system, is it turns off another important system for self control, and that is the anterior cingulate cortex. This is the part that can be described as the alarm centre in your brain. That is, if you’re holding a piece of cake and you’re on a diet, it will scream out saying that there’s a conflict. However, in an ego-depleted state, that part of the brain is put to sleep, and therefore, you might inadvertently find yourself eating that bit of cake, instead of realising that it is in conflict with your goals of self-control.

However, there’s good news about ego depletion, and that is that you can minimise its effects in your life.

 How do you do minimise ego depletion?

Studies have found that if you choose one area in your life to exercise willpower in, it will increase your ability to exercise willpower in all areas of your life.

A really good willpower exercises you can do is become more aware of your posture. That is, any time you find yourself slouching, stand up straight. Another one is refining your speech patterns, taking out things like, “Yeah,” and “I’s.”

The best one I recommend is learning to meditate for about 10 minutes a day. Not only will this serve as increasing your ability to exercise willpower in all areas of your life, it will also give added benefits, such as your ability to increase your attention, manage stress and impulse control.

What if you don’t know how to meditate?

Don’t worry. I’ve created my free 10-part Mastering Meditation Video course that you can get access to here. And you might be saying, “Well, what if I don’t have much time? Don’t worry, it only takes 10 minutes a day and you can get all the benefits I mentioned above.

Action Steps moving forward.

1) Become more aware of when you might be in an ego-depleted state.

2) Choose your willpower challenge.

If it’s not meditation, choose one other, and post a comment on this page to let me know which one you’ve chosen.

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