Before you can understand why you may be regularly “sabotaging” your healthy efforts, you must first understand what willpower is, how it works, and how to increase willpower with meditation (and other modalities).
Being able to refresh your mind and restore your willpower regularly is so important that it’s one of the 4 Domino Habits I teach my clients so they can stay disciplined to their healthy eating and goals.
Stopping to restore the mind is significant and critical to sustaining a healthy lifestyle.
Domino Habit #4: Make time to Refresh Your Mind
This post is an explanation of Domino Habit #4 in The 4 Habits. The 4 Habits are:
- Make time for your sleep ritual.
- Make time for meal prep.
- Eat slowly in an undistracted environment.
- Make time to refresh your mind.
In this post, I’m going to explain why it’s so important to make time to refresh your mind throughout the day, especially if you have health or weight loss goals you are trying to stick to.
What is Willpower?
Willpower isn’t an imaginary concept. There is actually a willpower center in your brain. The willpower center in your brain is responsible for decision making & processing information. And in modern society, the willpower center in your brain gets depleted fast. Here’s how:
- Every time you make a decision to read, delete, ignore, or save an email…. that uses the willpower center in your brain.
- If you have LED lights in your house at home or work in fluorescent lighting at work, that kind of lightwave is actually junk light to our brain. And your brain uses the willpower center in your brain to filter it out so you can think and see clearly.
- Driving…. uses the willpower center in your brain.
- Making actual decisions about life… uses the willpower center in your brain.
- Cooking breakfast – especially if you haven’t meal prepped and actually have to decide what to eat in the morning… uses the willpower center in your brain.
- Repeatedly saying “no” to the cookies or cake your coworkers brought to work and left in the break room… uses the willpower center in your brain.
- The coffee you drank this morning makes the mitochondria in the willpower centers of your brain rapid fire. This is what actually creates the stimulation in your brain that keeps you awake and guess what…. it uses the willpower center in your brain.
I could keep listing things but I imagine you’re seeing where I’m going with this.
Is it really any wonder why at 3pm you are craving sleep, caffeine, and sugar?
The mitochondria (the energy makers) in the willpower center of your brain are out of energy and need either rest or more fuel (fast acting glucose – remember?) to keep you thinking and going.
That’s why at 5pm, even if you ate amazingly healthy all day, you “suddenly” have an uncontrollable craving for carbs, junk, sugar, and alcohol at the end of the day.
Your brain is tired and needs rest!! And since you won’t (or can’t) give it rest, it needs stuff it needs fuel fast. And what is the body’s fastest fuel source? Glucose.
This is why it is SO important to know how to increase willpower with meditation… because if you don’t take the time to refresh your mind, your body will create more cortisol which will cause you to crave more sugar and junk food. If your mind is exhausted, the very decision-making center of your brain – your willpower center – will be the one begging for the energy (sugar) via cortisol cravings! It’s a vicious cycle!
How to Increase Willpower with Meditation (and other “Modalities”)
Did you know that in scientific studies, they found that just 5 minutes of meditation can restore the willpower stores in your brain? If you can meditate longer, you will rest and restore the mitochondria (energy making cells) in your brain even more.
That means that if you will rest your mind with something as simple as even really informal meditation for 5-15 minutes 3-5 times a day, you will be able to make decisions, stay on your healthy eating plan, read more emails, produce more and better stuff at work, feel better and mentally sharper all day!
Do you hear what I’m saying to you?
Meditating for 5 minutes a few times throughout your day – before your brain is completely depleted – will prevent your brain from becoming depleted at all!
You will have MORE life, more focus, more energy, and be able to eat healthier and make good decisions all day. THIS IS HUGE!
Modalities: Other Methods for Refreshing the Brain
I actually like to call this habit the “modalities habit” because there are so many tools (i.e. modalities) you can use to reset your mind. You don’t even have to do formal meditation!
To name a few, you could:
- Go for a gentle walk in a tranquil place for 5-15 minutes.
- Close your eyes and listen to classical music.
- Close your eye and hum a random tune.
- Go outside on a beautiful day, sit silently on a park bench, and watch birds.
For 100 ideas, you can read my article, 100 Things to Do Instead of Eat.
How to Increase Willpower with Meditation: My Personal Meditations
But if you want some awesome, quick, mind-refreshing, unconventional meditations to do, the 2 I use every day.
The thing about both of these meditations is that you don’t need to try to “clear your mind” or “focus hard” or “do it right.” That’s not the point. To refresh your mind, just close your eyes, listen to the meditation, and relax. Refresh. That’s it.
When you come out of it, it should feel like you took a lightning fast nap.
You will be amazed at how refreshed your mind feels. It’s like taking a 2-hour break. You can “suddenly” think more clearly, make better decisions, and have more energy. You’ll also find that you probably won’t have the 3 o’clock slump and your intense craving for sugar, carbs, junk food, or cocktails after work with virtually vanish.
It really is that effective.
So that’s it! You officially know how to increase willpower with meditation!