Mind Blown

One of the things i have done for a very long time is listen to CD books on my commute to and from work. I get them from the library( free) and it makes for a much better use of my time than griping about traffic.

Recently i finished one called “Triggers” , which is mainly oriented to job situations but has a decent amount of material regarding other areas of life.The one term that really lit up my neurons was something i had never heard of called “Ego Depletion”.

Basically refers to the idea that  “self control/willpower  draws upon a limited pool of mental resources that can be used up”( wikipedia). Wow. I didn’t even know there was a term for this. Beyond hearing it in the book reference , i decided to research it independently( just in case the author made it up…cause you never know..lol). Turns out it is a very real, and very common state, although many are not aware of it. This is usually because we believe we are doing all the right things -so how could it possibly go wrong?

AND –it doesn’t just pertain to self control over a substance or any one bad habit. Hell, it doesn’t even just apply to recovery. It can relate to many times and situations in our lives- divorce, loss of career, homeschooling, mid life crisis…the list is endless. But for me at this time , recovery is the main issue.

See, what a lot of us do when we begin recovery in earnest is set about replacing the bad habit(s) with better ones. A good idea in theory. We start doing yoga, try to eat healthier, give up caffeine, try to quit smoking, begin meditating…all kinds of things that require self control and will power. I am a poster child for tis behavior. At first it seems wonderful because we are hopping off & on many pink clouds of success and start to believe we have a handle on it all. But here’s the caveat:

As a result of the constant discipline, restraint and pulling out all the stops in order to gain some control in our lives can actually get to a point of this “ego depletion” state. I KNEW there had to be an explanation for what i had/have been going through. It is this state in which we can simply give up or give in out of sheer mental and emotional exhaustion. For alcoholics, it can be a prime cause of slips and relapses.Something to consider, and consider i shall.

Here is one link that explains it pretty well, but there is much info online if you look into it:

https://www.betterhelp.com/advice/willpower/ego-depletion-what-it-is-and-how-to-prevent-it/

Hope everyone is doing well and keeping in balance.

Namaste.

Author:

nurse, mother, artist, and chameleon ...

15 thoughts on “Mind Blown

  1. Yes, thats good, I have heard about that. I have seen similar research in the New Scientist magazine. That guy who does the ‘Easy Way. method Allan Car (I think) his whole premise is built around not using will power. In effect he says stop kidding yourself that you are giving something up and start seeing that the thing had no benefits to you only drawbacks, usually that it creates the draw backs too, so you are using the substances to over come its own drawbacks!

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    1. i can sort of see how it relates .. i have heard of Allan Carr and even almost bought the book.I agree with that whole premise and probably, eventually will actually use his method . But i think this is more about terminology than concept ?. It’s kind of like having an undefined issue or pattern that you cant quite figure out and then suddenly coming across the explanation with an actual label. Like bi polarity, autism, or narcissism, etc. They have been defined rather than speculated about. This ego depletion is something i have been prone to my whole life. I just worded it as “putting too much on my plate” causing burn out. But there is an actual term for it. I always start out trying to quit or change one thing and then add about 5 more items to the list. I think i am doing a whole life make over, and it feels great- at first. But then i start to fail in some areas, every single time. Finding this information has helped me make sense of the pattern.

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  2. Wow I’ve never heard of this but it all makes sense. Having a name makes it more valid for the mind. Definitely something for me to remember as I keep trying to improve myself! Also-I’ve never listened to audio books. Can you get them in like a CD you put in your car? Am I dating myself with that question as some newer cars don’t even have a CD option? 🤣

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    1. lol..i have no idea about new cars not having a cd player..that would suck for me..lol..mine is a 2014. But i do know its almost impossible to find new laptops with them built in and forget surround sound stereo systems with it unless with either item you buy a separate component..

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  3. This definitely connects some dots for me as well. As you know I’m working on 4 areas of my life currently and purposely made my weekly goals small and obtainable. And still I’m having issues with some of them. After reading this and that article I think for the guitar and cooking I get this depletion due to unfamiliarity and basically psyche myself out. Also it explains why I’m more pumped up in the morning and later in the day I’m mentally fatigued because of my work. It actually makes sense because I’ve ended up doing guitar and cooking via a recipe on the weekends when I’m off. Thanks so much for this info on ego depletion! Now I need to take this knowing and adjust my actions accordingly.😊

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    1. yup and i found the article i posted pretty helpful and informative. I have long suspected it has been a factor in my life , and in my failure/success pattern. Now to figure out a viable solution…

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  4. My sister calls it “can’t even”… she feels like that a lot due to depression. I get there, but so much less. Some people suggest single-tasking rather than taking on multiple large goals because it should reduce the brain load by a lot. I always thought about that, but it’s never been an option for me, because I have the two young kids I educate and care for as well as whatever my side projects are. Right now I’m putting a hedge into the edge of half an acre of space… and actually I want to start a tiny farm, but I’ll always be balancing that with the two kids. Imagining just doing one, or the other makes things seem simpler, but ultimately I like to have some goals to work towards for myself, it makes me feel better, even though it ups the challenge. But I was just wondering to myself why I couldn’t even make a habit of watering the patio a few years ago and now it is so easy to water the patio, front garden, back garden, watermelons, wheat on the hill and then make time to dig holes and do a bit of weeding and composting. It is now easier to do all that, than it was to water the patio a few years ago, much easier. One reason is I’m excited to see the watermelons come in, another is that I think of myself as a farmer now, as of a dozen days ago. I guess excitement for the future and a mental image that I can do this helps more than I would have thought it would, but still, there is defiantly a limit. I needed 100 holes dug this week, so I started with 25 Monday, 25 yesterday and today I’ll try 50, but if I can’t get to 50, I’ll at least hit 25 again (the new plants come in Thursday night and Thursday is a 1 Trillion Tree Planting Earth Day Festival I am taking the kids to). I always love these habit formation posts. ⌛

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    1. holy wow…thats a lot of farming:) Good goals and sounds like you have had success over time.Single tasking has been on my mind off & on for a while now, It used to annoy me when i was around someone who couldn’t multi-task, but now i have started to see it as a form if mindfulness that i have never had. I seriously need to focus on it in the next few months so that i dont get overwhelmed and start failing in all areas. The guilt and depression from constant backsliding actually just makes it all worse.

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  5. Good things, you’re in search for better outcome.
    The thing is: it’s not about habits as in “replacing bad ones with good ones”. It’s developing a passion for something. Habit is a habit and you most likely won’t beat it right away, but passion takes one over and doesn’t leave any space for habits which are disturbing. Being passionate about something takes lots of time and gets one involved so deeply they don’t even think about bad habits. The difficult part is to find the area which completely consumes one. It usually is an area which involves all senses, mind, body response, physical and mental sides.

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