Best Time to Make Life Decisions is When You Have to Pee
Think of the control you have when you're concentrating on making it to the bathroom in time. That same control can help you make important life decisions, according to a recent study. The research actually found that while you're controlling your bladder, you're better at controlling your own decision-making process.
Think about it: how many bad, impetuous decisions have you avoided by taking time out for a quick bathroom break? We've all been on the verge of lashing out at a boss, but postponed it until we made a pit stop, then lost the heat of the moment as a result. And we're glad we did.
Scientists who study physical urges like the need to evacuate your system, sexual excitement, hunger and thirst have found that activation of just one of these bodily desires can increase people's desire for other, seemingly unrelated, rewards.
Mirjam Tuk, of the University of Twente in the Netherlands, came up with the idea for the study after drinking several cups of coffee in order to stay awake through a long lecture. "All the coffee had reached my bladder. And that raised the question: What happens when people experience higher levels of bladder control?" she says.
To find out, some study participants drank the equivalent of five cups of water and others drank just a few sips. After about 40 minutes -- the amount of time it takes for water to reach the bladder -- the researchers assessed participants' self-control by asking them to make eight choices: each was between receiving a small, but immediate, reward and a larger, but delayed, reward.
The researchers found that the people with full bladders were better at holding out for the larger reward later. "You seem to make better decisions when you have a full bladder," said Tuk.
So the next time you are wavering on whether or not to quit your job or take an offer, think about it as you race to the restroom.
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