The Willpower Instinct with Dr. Kelly McGonigal
As a health psychologist, Dr. Kelly McGonigal’s job is to help people manage stress and make positive changes in their lives. After years of watching people try to control their bodies, emotions, and choices, she realized that much of what they believed about willpower was sabotaging their success and creating unnecessary stress. Committed to sharing what the scientific community already knew about self-control, McGonigal created a course called “The Science of Willpower” for Stanford University’s Continuing Studies Program. The course was an instant hit and spawned the hugely successful Psychology Today blog with the same name.
Her latest book, The Willpower Instinct, combines the newest insights from psychology, economics, neuroscience, and medicine to explain what exactly willpower is, how it works, and why it matters. Our ability to control our attention, emotions, appetites, and behavior greatly influences our health, financial security, relationships, and professional success. This book also provides life-changing prescriptive advice for how to develop stronger willpower. Whether to lose weight, fight stress, start an exercise regimen, gain greater focus, or find a new job, readers will be prompted to face willpower challenges through a series of exercises that complement each chapter.
Dr McGonigal joined me on Amy’s Table to share some surprising facts:
Willpower is not an unlimited resource. You only have so much of it, and too much self control can actually be bad for your health
Willpower is a mind-body response, not a virtue. It is a biological function that can be controlled through mindfulness, better sleep and even when we eat
People who have better control of their attention, emotions, and actions are healthier, happier, have more satisfying relationships, and make more money.
Giving up control is sometimes the only way to gain self-control
Willpower is contagious–you can catch temptation from your friends, but you can also catch self-control from the right role models
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