What's up with willpower and why don't I have it? (Thinkstock)
What's up with willpower and why don't I have it?

You asked us, what's up with willpower and why don't I have it?

I know it doesn't always feel like it but we all have will power. Like a muscle though, it can be super strong or puny and weak. Here are a couple things that can boost or zap your sense of self-control.

After a good night's sleep, we're ready to fend off all kinds of temptations. But log too few hours and it gets harder and harder to just say no.

Food is another key. Our brains need lots of quality calories to do what they do. That includes avoiding destructive urges.

Even if you're well rested and fed, as the day wears on, and you've resisted temptation after temptation, that willpower muscle starts to fatigue. Suddenly, it's a lot harder to put down that brownie and get your butt to the gym.

But never fear, science is here. And it's found a few ways to strengthen that willpower muscle.

Physical exercise allows us to handle stress better. And it actually leads to changes in our brain. So go run a few laps. Then meditate.

Yes, meditation can actually alter our brain in ways that improve self-control. Plus, it helps us be more self-aware. So we're less likely to do bad things out of habit.

At the very least, do something that makes you laugh. A good mood can help overpower a weak will.

OK, good luck fighting the good fight and Namaste.

For more stories like this, check us out every day at smithsonian.com.

Critical thinking challenge: Where is the muscle that provides willpower?

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Assigned 22 times

  • bis16
    5/13/2015 - 12:20 p.m.

    one time I thought I could do a back tuck when I was 5 but I couldn't when I was 7 I finnaly learned how to do It now I do it like every single day that's when I used willpower I think it was so great

  • John0724-YYCA
    5/13/2015 - 08:27 p.m.

    Whoa I never thought that we have will power because I thought the super hero Green Lantern only had will power because his main power is like will power and anyway I really don't know why meditating helps us have will power because it is just resting while sitting so meditating is basically resting so they should just call it resting instead of calling it more complicated.

  • galvinc-
    5/14/2015 - 09:35 a.m.

    This story is about willpower.it is something that you want but you can't afford to eat it. The hard thing is that you want more so bad like chocolate, candy, chips ,soda and other sweets.I think it's a good idea to rest and make the right chooses and meditate .

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