We draw on a single reservoir of willpower for all kinds of mental tasks, both important and trivial.

In the book Willpower, Baumeister and John Tierney sum up two key points about our mental resistance:

1. It’s a finite resource that diminishes as we use it.
2. We draw on a single reservoir of willpower for all kinds of mental tasks, both important and trivial.

Scientists refer to the draining of willpower as ego depletion—a phrase that sounds ethereal rather than physical. Yet research has shown that the stock of willpower is directly related to available glucose in the body. The brain’s mental processes run on physical energy; the less that’s available to it, the less work it is able to do. Hence, when we’re hungry, we think less clearly and are more vulnerable to temptation.

Janzer, Anne. The Writer’s Process: Getting Your Brain in Gear (p. 54). Cuesta Park Consulting. Kindle Edition.
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