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3 Ways Developing The Willpower Instinct Can Change Your Life

3 Ways Developing The Willpower Instinct Can Change Your Life

Stanford graduate, psychologist, and author of The Willpower Instinct: How Self-Control Works, Why It Matters, and What You Can Do to Get More of It, Kelly McGonigal provides breakthrough ideas about how our minds interpret and act upon things in daily life. McGonigal is an advocate for willpower and seeks to help others harness the inherent quality of self-control that we all possess but sometimes do not know to shape or wield – whether it comes to managing addictions or maintaining discipline. Many things in life are addictive and the mind’s impulse will play tricks on you and do whatever it takes to attain its goal of immediate gratification. McGonigal created a very clear path of instructions that can help individuals to overcome and understand addictions, anxiety, depression, self-control, acting and more.

Below are a few of the major points of her guidelines to developing and maintaining willpower:

1. Addiction

Neuroscientists talk about how we have one brain and two minds. We have a mind that acts on impulse and seeks immediate gratification, and we have another mind that controls our impulses and delays gratification to fulfill our long-term goals. We face willpower challenges when the two minds have competing goals. Various study groups were created to test the results of McGonigal’s process of intervention. One major component learned is that when we decide we need “that “smoke or “that” drink, we need to stop, listen, and not act.

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We need to wait a few minutes and see if that desire to act upon impulse still lingers in your mind. The outcomes to date suggest that this process of delay has an 80%+ success rate. The smoker who wants to quit does not need any expensive tablets, gums, patches, hypnosis, or mediation from professionals to do so. Try this for yourself, it works! Believe it!

As a nicotine gum user for over two years, waking up one day and starting to play close attention to my wants, needs, and thoughts is exactly how one can manage to get over addictions. The simple act of shutting off immediate gratification is not easy. The sensations and feelings of addiction are literally 24/7. This becomes extremely obvious when you start to pay close attention to your thoughts.

Addictions come in many different aspects. The thrill-seeker is looking for that adrenaline rush, the foodies are looking for that experiential flavour sensation, the hobbyist is looking for that calm and excited adrenaline rush, the list goes on and on. Addictions can come in any shape or form. The frequency and rate at which any act is performed, constitutes an addiction problem.

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    2. Self-Control

    “Neuroscientists have discovered that when you ask the brain to meditate, it gets better not just at meditating, but at a wide range of self-control skills, including attention, focus, stress management, impulse control, and self-awareness. People who meditate regularly aren’t just better at these things. Over time, their brains become finely tuned willpower machines.”

    – Kelly McGonigal, The Willpower Instinct

    You have to ask yourself, what does she mean by “willpower machine”? Well, when you meditate you are paying close attention to everything and anything around and inside you. You notice every tiny fleck, speck, and thought. Anything that could possibly influence you in any way whatsoever during the day is observed and analyzed. This is an extremely powerful tool for any person.

    The sheer act of realizing that you have two separate brains that each serve a separate purpose is the first key to “self-control”. Kelly McGonigal herself practices yoga as a means to connect to her mind, body, and spirit. These new strategies and others are discussed in her book, The WillPower Instinct: How Self-Control Works, Why It Matters, and What You Can Do to Get More of It, as part of the Authors@Google series. Topics include dieting/weight loss, health, addiction, quitting smoking, temptation, procrastination, mindfulness, stress, sleep, cravings, exercise, self-control, self-compassion, guilt, and shame.

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      3. Stress Relief

      When you start to pay close attention to everything in the present, you start to gain insight as to how you should proceed forward in life. No person in their right mind should be avoiding anything that brings them happiness. Presentations are a perfect example of “avoidance”. The positives gained from a great preparation, research, execution, communication, etc. all outweigh the negatives. Any discomfort a person may feel before, during, or after a presentation dissipates in the wake of the all of the good things that show up to take its place.

      Scientists have demonstrated that dramatic, positive changes can occur in an individual’s life when they face extreme situations. The stress catalyzed positive psychological change and repaired psychological distress, a process different from post-traumatic growth but with similar outcomes. Successful post-traumatic growth (PTG), or benefit finding, refers to positive psychological change experienced as a result of adversity and other challenges in order to rise to a higher level of functioning.

      For more from Kelly McGonigal, visit http://kellymcgonigal.com/.

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      Featured photo credit: Bible Study Tools via biblestudytools.com

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      praveen nadaraju

      Classical & Computer Animator & Industrial Designer

      Increase, Boost and Improve Your Natural Mindset Need Help Reaching 100,000 Hits on Your Virtual Reality Video on YouTube? 3 Ways Developing The Willpower Instinct Can Change Your Life 10 Master Principles of Animation

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      Last Updated on October 17, 2019

      13 Science-Backed Ways To Improve Your Memory

      13 Science-Backed Ways To Improve Your Memory

      Life is made up of memories – what you have seen, heard and done; and what you’re going to do. Every bit of information you take in is only useful if you can remember it at the right time. So, how can you improve your memory?

      There are many scientific theories and observations on how memories work. These theories provide us with an understanding of how feelings, routine, context and recollection affect our memories. And here are some tips backed by the scientific insights for improving memory.

      1. Method of Loci

      Method of Loci is a popular mnemonic technique that helps you recollect a large amount of information.[1] It works by utilizing your spatial and navigational skills as you basically envision your memories as part of a geographical entity. This is the technique that the famous fictional detective Sherlock calls as his Mind Palace.

      This method is extremely useful when you are preparing for a speech or an exam. Here is how you can make use of it:

      • Visualize a space you are most familiar with. It could be your home, your favorite park or your school.
      • Construct the rooms, shelves, furniture and everything inside it in your mind.
      • Imagine yourself keeping the items you want to remember in each of the rooms or in places.
      • Next time you want to remember something, walk through room by room to recall what you placed there.

      Repeating this exercise has proven to be a great way of remembering loads of information with ease.

      You can learn more about this method in this article: How to Build a Memory Palace to Remember More of Everything

      2. Acronyms

      Acronyms are proven to be very effective in memorizing a group of words. Research has shown that our brains are better at retrieving things when we associate meaning to them.[2] This is why recollecting a single meaningful word or phrase is easy compared to trying to remember a list of words.

      For instance, to memorize the directions on the compass, you can use the acronym NEWS (North, East, West, and South); or, when you want to remember the Great Lakes basin, you can make us of the acronym HOME (Huron, Ontario, Michigan, Erie, Superior) etc.

      Make up your own acronyms to the list of things you want to remember. all you need to do is list the things that you want to memorize and arrange them in an order such that the first letter of each word spells a real word.

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      3. Rhyming

      There is a reason why rhymes are still a popular way to teach kids. Because our brains are good at acoustic encoding which means – breaking down sound structures.[3] We can easily remember stuff when they sound similar.

      The peg method can help you out. You first need to memorize the list in the exact order given below:

      one = bun

      two = shoe

      three= tree

      four = door

      five = hive

      six = sticks

      seven = heaven

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      eight = gate

      nine = vine

      ten = hen

      After you have memorized this list, now connect the first word to bun, second word to shoe, and so on. This will help you in making a memorable connection.

      Another way is to construct rhymes on the information you want to remember. For instance, if you want to remember that Mr. Jones runs a real-estate business, you can remember him with a rhyme – Mr. Jones from Homes.

      Although this may seem a bit weird and funny, this method will help you in memorizing the stuff better.

      4. Linking

      This is a useful technique to help you stay sharp in many everyday scenarios like remembering shopping lists. This is a visualization and association technique where you associate meanings to visual imagery. However, it is important to ensure that the images stored in your mind are as vivid as possible.

      For instance, if you want to remember a set of items, just link them up in a story. Let’s say that you want to remember the South England countries – Avon, Cornwall, Devon, Dorset, , Gloucestershire, Hampshire, Somerset, Surrey, and Wiltshire.

      You can link all these countries in the form of a story. An AVON lady is looking for a house. She is sweating and thirsty due to high SUMMER (Somerset). In the way, she came across a giant CORN (Cornwall), but it is about to WILT (Wiltshire) in the heart. She reaches the house and knocks on the DOOR (Dorset), which is attended by the DEVIL (Devon).

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      She enters inside and found that a servant is seasoning the HAM (Hampshire), and everything looks extremely GLOSSY (Gloucestershire). Frightened of the whole atmosphere, the lady says SORRY (Surrey) and returns back to her path.

      5. Chunking

      Very few people bother to remember phone numbers by heart nowadays. But what if you lose your contacts and need a way to recollect those long numbers? This memory technique will be handy in those situations.

      Chunking is basically breaking down the information into smaller pieces that are easy to remember. Start with a small number say 379372518. Break it to three chunks 378 372 518. This will help you remember better. Improve your skills every day by trying to remember more numbers this way.

      6. Write It Down

      Writing activates your brain cells and stimulates your reticular activating system (RAS).[4] So whenever you are trying to learn something, try writing it down. Review what you have written and test yourself.

      You can also hand draw memory maps to further develop your memorization power.

      7. Be Busy

      Repeat all your brain exercises regularly and keep testing yourself to get better. A recent study revealed that our brain needs to be busy to keep itself fit as well.[5]

      Test yourself repeatedly if you want to retain the correct information for the longest time.

      Take walks or indulge in some physical activities as well. Research shows that healthy people who exercise regularly have better memories than those who don’t.

      8. Give Yourself a Good Sleep

      Sleeping is very much necessary if you want to be good at memory. A tired body that lacks sleep will not be able to recollect or retain information effectively. So rest well and make sure your body and mind are rejuvenated every day.

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      9. Eat Healthily

      Try to include more vegetables and fruits into your diet to improve memory. A study conducted by Harvard medical school backs this as well. Scientists believe that the antioxidants and vitamins from vegetables and fruits help to reduce oxidative stress in the brain and help battle age-related memory issues.[6]

      Learn about the brain foods you should include in your diet: 12 Best Foods That Improve Memory and Brain Health

      10. Play Video Games and Brain Training Apps

      Now here is a fun way to improve memory. Playing video games may not seem the best way to study for an exam but, regular video game playing can actually improve certain memory-associated regions of the brain. Studies have shown that video games helps in total knowledge recall and can reduce dementia risk.[7]

      Considering the benefits, maybe you can make brain training apps a regular pastime or something to do on your breaks.

      11. Think of the Ways in Which Things Relate to You

      According to a recent research, you can boost your memory considerably by contemplating why the information is important to you.[8] This signals your brain to convert the short-term memories into the long-term ones, thus helping you remember effortlessly.

      12. Exercise Regularly

      You might not see this coming but people who exercise daily, whether it be leisurely walking, have better memories when compared to their counterparts who do no physical activity.[9]

      13. Don’t Just Memorize But Also Pay Attention to Essence

      Although practice makes perfect, this might not necessarily be true when it comes to boosting memory. Scientists have found that while repetitive practice could help you in remembering things, you might miss on the bigger picture.[10]

      That’s indeed true. Do you remember that one presentation when you memorized everything by heart without giving much thought to it? What happened next? Someone interrupted in between and you were not able to recall anything again!

      Thus, rote repetition will not do any good. You need to complement repetition by a proper understanding of the finer details.

      Bottom Line

      Sharpening your memory is not rocket science. All you need to do is follow the fun and simple ways mentioned above, and eat right to boost your brain health!

      More About Sharpening Your Brain

      Featured photo credit: Thought Catalog via unsplash.com

      Reference

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