• Willpower and sugar

    Do you suffer from decision Fatigue? John Tierney wrote this really looooong article on an interesting topic with a twist I had not see before. I summarize it below, for the full article click: http://www.nytimes.com/2011/08/21/magazine/do-you-suffer-from-decision-fatigue.html?ref=johntierney

    Basically willpower is limited, the use of it depletes it. Once it is depleted bad things start to happen. Once willpower is lower it is harder to make “trade-offs”, and view the nuances of the decision clearly.

    So we head down the path of less resistance. The famous example is the candy at the checkout. You have made all these decisions on what to buy. You get to the end and feel burned out and need a little snack. Normally you would not eat that “crap” but like magic it hops into your checkout basket.

    The interesting thing was have a shot of glucose and all is well again. I find that interesting but I do notice I eat all day at work. I don’t see how glucose can replace rest but they say the brain changes where it works once fatigue has set in, and the new spots are  not good for decisions.  A shot of sugar will do the trick short term but better food choices will make it a longer effect.

    Another item in the article was the added pressure of poverty in the decision loop. When money is tight, so our the options. To find good options takes more “trade-offs” and that quickly depletes willpower, leading to poor choices.

    What to do. Space out activities that will use willpower, thinking and concentration. Make sure your well fed and watered. Keep and eye on your fatigue levels and reflect on how the recent decisions are. If you notice you are not making your normal decisions. STOP and get some rest, food, water, change of scenery.

    Good luck and watch out for the candy bars in your shopping basket, it’s a sure sign you have depleted willpower and remember the person your talking to may be depleted also. Makes you think about giving your GP a sugar candy before they assess you.

    Be Well,
    Ward Willison
    Acupuncture & Other Natural Therapies