In each of us live two people. The first one is an Emotional person, who tells us: “Oh, donuts, cool! Eat them all! “Or ” Well, let’s not to go the gym today…the bed is soooo soft! ” It is he who makes us spend all the money, see another episode of favorite series at 4 a.m., call the ex and so on. Emotional Man lives only in the present, and he doesn’t think about the future.
The second man inside us is Rational. He helps us not to make life a constant pursuit of pleasure. Rational is responsible for our future. He tells us: “Listen, if you eat another donut, then in your 40-s you’ll have to upload a photo of a kitten for the avatar”, “If you do not stop right now scrolling the news in social networks, then in the morning you will have dark circles under the eyes more than the rings of Saturn. ”
In my case, emotional man always won: at the age of 25 I had 25 kilos of extra weight, I didn’t go in for sports, plus a bunch of bad habits. The rational in me has always been “sedated”. Probably, he was overwhelmed with overweight 🙂
And a few years ago I read the book “Maximum Willpower” by Kelly McGonigal
Kelly is a lecturer at Stanford, she gives 10-week course on the development of willpower. I learned from Kelly that the “rational man” – this is actually a piece of our brain called the prefrontal cortex.
If the cortex “feels” good, then we can take arbitrary decisions: to give up donuts, to go to training, to go to bed in time. If the cortex is “sick”, our number is up, because we graduately go crazy.
That is why it is useful just once a day to use any of the simple techniques described below and in a year you’ll get global results.
So, how to fix the prefrontal cortex?
1. Walk. Even a five-minute walk in the fresh air can improve self-control. Fresh air helps to saturate the brain with oxygen and self-control is returned to us. When I wanted to eat something harmful, I said to myself: “OK, I just lack of oxygen.” And I went for a walk. Imagine how even one walk a day instead of harmful food can affect not only your weight but you state?
2. Meditation. Our brain is constantly processing a huge number of tasks and the constant mess in our head forces us to take hasty decisions. If to stop five minutes and to do a little meditation, it will help to clean up your willpower.
Maybe it looked strange, but when I tempted to give the reins of life to the Emotional guy, I sat down on a chair and five minutes set self-absorbed.
3. Breathe correctly. Proper breathing is a key component of many practices. If to slow breathing to 4-6 breaths per minute (every breath takes 10-15 seconds), it improves the cortex and helps to make arbitrary decisions.
4. Sleep enough. I read probably more than 1,000 books for whole my life, but no one explained a simple thing: when a person wants to sleep, he tries to recuperate energy reserves eating everything he sees. That is why any changes – internal or external are best to start with enough sleep.
I can not say that my success in changing myself is only the result of willpower developing. Of course the fact that I was able to lose 27 kilos, to go in for sports, to find a favorite work, to completely give up all bad habits and to become really happy is not only the merit of my willpower, but also of a conscious approach to changes. Of course, I reconsidered and changed my whole life, from habits to relationships with people.
In general, it is possible to find a compromise between the emotional and the rational man inside us. Any personal skill and any quality can be developed. It’s just a matter of training. Willpower is also a muscle that needs exercising. Love – this is also a muscle that needs exercising. Happiness – the same. The more exercise, the stronger we are.
Without our efforts everything – happiness, triceps, self-control, love, knowledge are transformed into nothing.
May Power be with you! the Power of will 🙂