How Stress Ruins Your Self-Control


You have some pretty admirable long-term goals, but pesky short-term gain keeps getting in the way.


You’re more likely to choose short-term gain over long-term goals thanks to stress, according to a study published in Neuron.


Researchers recruited fifty-one participants who said they were trying to maintain a healthy lifestyle, but still ate and enjoyed junk food.

Twenty-nine of the participants were subjected to moderate stress, which in this experiment meant they had one of their hands submerged in ice water for three minutes while being filmed and observed.

Then, all participants were asked to choose between eating a tasty but unhealthy food item (we assume it was an Aero bar), or a healthy but less tasty item (we assume kale chips). The participants were even reminded which item would be better for them in the long-run.


Participants who were stressed were more likely to choose the junk food.

The Takeaway

If you’re working on a long-term goal (and who isn’t?), you owe it to yourself to remove stress from your life as much as possible. Try these ideas—and keep your hand out of ice water.



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