I made this discovery while getting to know a new bit of my body called my prefrontal cortex (PFC). My PFC and me are making friends, because he’s helpful and a useful guy to know.
This bit of my brain looks after my willpower. Apparently, he is easily exhausted (that’s not hard to believe), especially by any sort of intense concentration. And when that happens, I can succumb easier to things like temptation or anxiety. But the good bit is that he is also easily recharged, generally by very pleasant things.
This is valuable knowledge.
So when I get the munchies after a period of hard work, I know that it’s just my PFC that needs a hug, and the best thing is to go for a nice walk, which is a big win-win health wise.
Or if I finish writing a blog and then wonder “great, but what the hell am I DOING with my life?” I know it’s just my poor PFC, and I don’t need to imagine my life imploding in slow motion, I just need to lie down and listen to some Portishead. Then I can get back to some more anguish-free pointlessness.
I learned this about my PFC in a super book called Uncertainty. For some proper psychology to bolster my amateurish drivel, see this experiment by Baba Shiv (here’s the summary and here’s the study), where test subjects had their PFCs run ragged and resorted to gobbling lots of cake.
I love my PFC. He is strong, but vulnerable, which is very endearing. Now that I know him, we can do such nice things together.