Firming up your willpower might be as easy as firming up your muscles, a study published in the Journal of Consumer Research suggests.
Researchers ambushed hungry University of Chicago undergrads as they approached a snackbar; they instructed some of the students to tightly hold a pen in their hand, while others were told to hold the pen loosely. As it turned out, the students who’d tensed their muscles to hold the pen ended up choosing twice as many healthy foods as those who held the pen loosely. Psychologists call this “embodied cognition” — the idea that your body can influence your mind. Clenching your fist works because it’s a physical analogue to exercising your will — think of tensing your body before an important phone call to psych yourself up.