In today’s fast-paced world, the word self-control seems to have little meaning. Patience has become a rare virtue, and there is always the temptation to give in to whatever is dangled in front of us. Thankfully, there is a way to maintain some semblance of self-control. According to a study published in the journal Psychological Science, people who think about religion end up practicing restraint in unrelated tasks they do afterward.

In the study, researchers asked participants to unscramble a sentence into five words. Some of the words had something to do with religion while others did not. After the exercise, they were then put in several situations that required a certain degree of self-control, such as enduring discomfort and delaying gratification. Results revealed that those who were able to unscramble the words that had a religious theme held out longer than their peers.

"Until now, I believed religion was a matter of faith; people had little 'practical' use for religion," says lead researcher Kevin Rounding. Now, however, there is evidence that religion can be used for purposes beyond spirituality and enlightenment. In a society that hinges much on self-control, this new study might have something worth exploring.

For more tips on improving your self-control when it comes to your spending, eating habits, and temper, check these out:

(Photo by Raemin via Flickr Creative Commons)

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