Friday, April 04, 2008

Maybe they are really "Thinkies"*...

Eating sugary foods helps you think and enhance self-control. OK - that's not the point of this study, but it's what I chose to take away.
What limits willpower? Some have suggested that it is blood sugar, which brain cells use as their main energy source and cannot do without for even a few minutes. Most cognitive functions are unaffected by minor blood sugar fluctuations over the course of a day, but planning and self-control are sensitive to such small changes. Exerting self-control lowers blood sugar, which reduces the capacity for further self-control. People who drink a glass of lemonade between completing one task requiring self-control and beginning a second one perform equally well on both tasks, while people who drink sugarless diet lemonade make more errors on the second task than on the first. Foods that persistently elevate blood sugar, like those containing protein or complex carbohydrates, might enhance willpower for longer periods.

In the short term, you should spend your limited willpower budget wisely. For example, if you do not want to drink too much at a party, then on the way to the festivities, you should not deplete your willpower by window shopping for items you cannot afford. Taking an alternative route to avoid passing the store would be a better strategy. [More]
Self-discipline is a tricky mental process, and as researchers discover more about it, some old bromides are crumbling. Such as this:
Self-control cannot be compartmentalized; don’t think you can be self-controlled in your use of the computer and not in your TV watching. You need to practice discipline in all areas of your life. Do this by paying attention to details in all areas of life; if your room is dirty, clean it, if a picture is crooked, straighten it. Soon you will see your effort in one area spill over to others. [More]

Instead, a better plan would be to husband your self-control (almost a contradiction in terms , isn't it?) for those areas most important to you, rather than attempting mastery of your whole domain.
As hu­mans, we have lim­it­ed re­sources to con­trol our­selves, re­search­ers say; all acts of con­trol draw from one source. So when us­ing this re­source in one do­main, such as di­et­ing, we’re more likely to run out of it in an­oth­er do­main, like stu­dy­ing hard. [More]
I am hoarding my meager resources most carefully.

You can probably tell.

*Theme of the Week

1 comment:

Ol James said...

The article from wikihow-
Was this the message that played right before the, "What To Do In Case of a Nuclear Attack" film??? Sponsored by the Civil Defense.