When chomping down on something indulgent (like a bacon, egg and cheese breakfast burrito), warm fuzzy feelings of joy wash over me. “This is living,” I think. “All those skinny people constantly denying themselves, they just don’t know how to live.”
Of course, once said breakfast burrito is over, I instantly feel regret and wish for more self-control. Turns out, this is a viscous cycle. It’s why scientists at the University of Chicago studied the direct impact self-control has on happiness. What they found was that people who are better able to resist impulses, be it food or alcohol, report being more satisfied with their lives. Sure, they don’t get bottomless mimosas, but they get to be thin, healthy and as it turns out, happier.
The findings, published in the Journal of Personality, surveyed over 400 adults and asked them how much they agreed with statements like “I do certain things that are bad for me, if they are fun.” Then, asked participants to report their current emotional state. As it turns out, those people who reported having the highest amount of self-control were more likely to feel general feelings of overall life satisfaction.
So how do you wake up one day able to resist chocolate cake? Researchers found that these happy people that can control their impulses are simply less likely to put themselves in situations where they will be tempted. You know, like a buffet, or a party…or anywhere actually fun.
What are your best tips for avoiding temptation?
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