What is Ego Depletion: How can you overcome it?

Consider how you feel after a busy day. Do you feel motivated to achieve your goals after running errands, writing reports for your boss, or writing articles for your blog? After the day, you may want to curl up in front of the television and not do anything.


This phenomenon is called “ego depletion” by psychologists. According to the theory, willpower is linked to limited mental energy. Once that energy runs out, self-control is more difficult to maintain. This theory would explain why I indulge in after-work luxuries.

What is Ego Depletion?

Psychologists believe that willpower is a muscle. It can become tired; This is called ego depletion. You can exercise your willpower in a similar way to exercising your body.


Many people are faced with natural urges and desires that require satisfaction. It is not always possible, socially acceptable, or healthy to give in to these feelings. To deal with these challenges, one must exercise self-control and control over their actions. We often need to defer satisfying these urges until a better time or place.

You can use the theory of ego-depletion to strategically manage your stress levels and focus on the top priorities.

True financial health is like physical fitness. It’s a long-term goal. While there is no single day that will fix all your financial problems, with persistence and time, you can make better financial decisions.

Ego Depletion: What is it?

“Ego” does not refer to your self-esteem. This concept was created by Sigmund Freud in order to define the part of you that acts as a mediator between the world and your basic desires and impulses. This is the part of yourself that engages in executive functions such as self-control and decision-making.


Ego depletion occurs when someone uses all of their willpower on one task and cannot control their behavior on other, often unrelated, tasks.

Willpower is a limited resource.

Research suggests that self-control and willpower are very similar. You will be less self-controlled if you exhaust your energy and become a victim of ego depletion.

It is essential to practice self-control. Good self-control can be beneficial in many ways. High levels of self-control can lead to better relationships and higher achievement. People who lack self-control can have social conflict and poor academic performance.

Recent research has shown that ego depletion may not be as powerful as previously thought.

Others have suggested that ego depletion does not simply result from a lack of self-control. They suggest that changes in motivation, attention, or emotion play a crucial role.

Causes of Ego depletion

There are many factors that can lead to ego depletion and make it difficult to manage yourself and regain your willpower.

Emotional distress 

Your willpower will quickly be reduced if you feel emotional distress.


It takes more effort to try something different.

Illusory fatigue 

You’ll feel more mentally tired if you believe a situation is mentally stressful.

Low blood Sugar 

It can be more challenging to resist temptation when you have low blood sugar.

Ego Depletion: Causes


If you are forced to do something, your self-control will be less than if it were up to you.

Cognitive dissonance 

Doing or saying something contrary to your beliefs can cause you to lose control.

Heart Rate 

Studies have shown that the more your heart rate fluctuates, the less self-control it gives you.

Hormones Premenstrual Syndrome 

Women experience less self-control because their ovaries work harder.


Older people might be more resistant than their younger counterparts to ego depletion.

Excessive options and Concentrated attention 

for a prolonged period

Essentially, situations that require effort without providing reward will drain your ego, resulting in ego depletion. There are many types of fatigue, depending on the cause. These include decision fatigue, burnout, and other forms of ego depletion.

How to Overcome Ego Depletion

It is not a reason to stop working toward your goals just because you know how ego depletion can affect you. You should instead use strategies that will make it easier to reach your goals. These are some of the techniques you should consider:

To take the mental work out of tasks, use If-Then statements

These are also known as implementation intentions. They describe what you will do in the event of a roadblock. This could be, for example, “If I find a product I like online, I’ll bookmark the page to avoid impulse purchases.” It takes the stress out of trying to think it through.

Enjoy a small sugary treat.

According to some studies, there may be a connection between blood glucose levels and willpower. Psychologists believe that sugar is energy for the brain and re-energizes it. Some people believe sugar makes you happy and can even be eaten without actually eating it. If you have trouble motivating yourself to adopt a positive habit or to avoid negative ones, you can try lemonade, which is a little sugary treat that will get you started.

Enjoy a Relaxation with Positive Experiences

Studies have shown that a positive mood can reduce the symptoms of ego depletion. To re-energize your mind, take a break and watch a funny movie or spend time with your pet. Set a timer that will allow you to return to your task in five to ten minutes; this will ensure that you don’t get distracted.

Overcoming Ego Depletion

Get up to speed on Sleep

A well-rested mind is associated with a better mood and mental performance. Ego depletion can be reduced by having a positive attitude and full cognitive abilities. Be careful not to try to create a new sleeping routine. It could cause more work than it is worth.

Eat the Frog

In the context of ego depletion, this classic project management technique is given a deeper meaning. The concept behind “eat the fog” is to do the most difficult thing first in your day, even if it means eating an amphibian. Prioritize the most difficult and important task first before you run out of willpower.

Limit Exposure

One Australian study found that those who tried to eat less unhealthy snacks had the most success when they said they saw fewer of their friends eating. This suggests that it is easier to stop a bad habit by limiting exposure. This is intuitively obvious, as it is harder to resist something that’s right in front of you.

You can cut down on restaurant takeout or limit online shopping by being as stubborn as possible. Set up blockers to prevent you from shopping on frequent sites.

Improve Your Mood

Positive moods can help with self-control, according to research. Studies had shown that participants with ego depletion scored as well as those without ego depletion on a self control task when they were encouraged to watch comedy films.

Change Your Outlook

One study found that people who view themselves as tired are more likely to feel ego depletion. Participants who could see the bigger picture and not just their self-perceptions were more likely to reverse this effect. Ego depletion can be minimized by focusing on your long-term goals and not just your current feelings.

Consider What is Important to You

Research also shows that self-affirmation can help counter the effects of ego depletion. This refers to any thought or behavior that promotes the integrity of the self. Self-affirmation can be as simple as expressing your core values, which are the beliefs you hold most dear. Take a moment to remember the things that are most important to you, even when you feel stressed and exhausted.

Practice Stress Management

You can improve your self-control and manage stress. It can also help you better manage areas of your life that drain your energy and willpower. Relaxation strategies such as deep breathing and mindfulness meditation can help you recharge your mental energy.

Read More: Motivation : Be Inspired to Do Anything

Read More: Overcome Procrastination and Start Getting Things Done

Read More: Improve Your Willpower | The psychological science of self-control


It is often encouraged that people use their willpower to conquer any challenge. However, sometimes we lose control of our own power later when we need it.

You can find ways to increase your willpower in critical times when you feel exhausted. When you feel depleted, you can find a way to lift your spirits by taking a break, watching a funny clip, or focusing on what is important to you.

Ego Depletion in 2 minutes
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