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 actually 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 if we log too few hours, it gets harder and harder to just say no.

Food is another key, and our brains need lots of quality calories to do what they do, including 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 and 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 because 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 17 times

  • bis15
    5/13/2015 - 12:21 p.m.

    one time I code not eat gum and I was sad nawe I can eat it all the time im happy I love it is osom
    it is cool it is fun

  • Steve0620-yyca
    1/20/2016 - 10:09 p.m.

    I think that it was interesting to learn about willpower. There are many ways to help your willpower like eating healthy, getting a sufficient amount of sleep, exercising, and meditating. People are using willpower everyday by trying not to fall into temptations. Everyone has willpower but sometimes, the willpower gets weakened. Being in a good mood can also help to improve you willpower. A good mood can help overpower a weak will. Sometimes it is hard to fall into temptations but there are many ways to overpower it.

    • Richie-stol
      2/22/2017 - 06:40 p.m.


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