The next time you need to make an important life decision, you might want to drink several glasses of water and wait.
A new study published in the journal Psychological Science has found that controlling your bladder makes you better at exerting self-control when making decisions about the future.
The lead researcher Mirjan Tuk, an assistant professor of consumer psychology at the University of Twente in the Netherlands, came up with the idea for the study when she found herself in a certain state of urgency.
Dr. Tuk had drank plenty of coffee, and was in the midst of a long lecture.
"All the coffee had reached my bladder. And that raised the question: what happens when people experience higher levels of bladder control?" she said in a release.
She had study participants drink either five full cups of water or take sips from five separate cups, then waited 40 minutes for the fluid to reach their bladders. Dr. Tuk then tested the participants' self-control, by asking them to choose between immediate rewards, like receiving 15 dollars the next day, or greater delayed rewards, like 30 dollars in a month. Those with full bladders were more likely to hold out for the bigger prize.
Her findings appeared to contradict previous research that suggests the brain wears itself out when trying to restrain itself, making self-control more difficult.
Dr. Tuk's study suggests activating other bodily desires, such as sexual desire, hunger or thirst, may have a similar effect as a full bladder.