For many of us, a busy afternoon and evening might include running the kids to ballet and ball practice, picking up dry-cleaning, mid-traffic phone calls with the orthodontist, CPA, and co-worker… and a fast-food drive-through for dinner. A busy mindset is often regarded as indulgent due to the rush: “I didn’t have time for lunch so I grabbed an apple and chips,” or “no time for a sit-down meal, so we had burritos in the car.”
However, a study published in the Journal of Consumer Research reveals a far different reality. Scientists reviewed and analyzed seven studies investigating behavioral outcomes of a busy mindset. The personal perspective of busyness affected multiple domains of self-control, with a decrease of indulgent behaviors.
Surprisingly, that fast-food dinner may not be such a poor choice; a busy mindset increases self-control which can result in improved health and wellness behaviors. While the fast-food choice during vacation will likely contain French fries, a milk shake, and other indulgent options, the drive-through dinner on a busy evening is more likely to consist of a grilled chicken wrap, side salad, and similar healthier picks. How encouraging to discover that my busy mindset can equal increased self-control and positive behavioral outcomes!
Terissa Michele Miller, MS Psy
Check out the original research: