Sunday, May 10, 2015

by Kelly McGonigal

  • Is the opposite of fight-or-flight (36)
  • Starts with perception of internal conflict (vs. external threat)
    • Triggers changes in brain (prefrontal cortex) and body => lower heart rate, blood pressure stays normal, breathing slow, muscles relax (37)
    • Helps slow down/control impulses => time for more flexible thoughtful action
  • Internal conflict is it’s own kind of threat: you want something, but know you shouldn’t or you know you should do something, but you’d rather not

  • Heart rate variability: higher => more willpower (39)
  • Anything that puts stress on mind/body interferes with willpower
  • Anything that reduces stress/improves health strengthens willpower (39)
    • Meditation, spiritual practice, time with loved ones
    • Exercise, sleep, healthy diet

  • Improves self-control skills: focus, stress management, impulse control, self-awareness
  • How-to: Sit still/stay put, Attn to breath, Notice mind wanders, Return to breath (26)
  • Short daily meditations better than long but infrequent

  • Think of exercise as something that restores energy and willpower (45)
  • Can’t do the “I will”? Find the “I won’t” (48)
  • Find the “want” that’s more powerful for you (76)
  • Focus on your commitment (vs your progress) (91) – life span practice (vs short term)

Some exercises:
  • Breathe your way to self control (40)
  • Willpower fill-up (44)
  • Relaxation (50-1)
  • Willpower workout: strengthen I Won’t, I Will and Self-Monitoring (68)
  • What’s your "want" power? (74)
  • Focus on the commitment (91)
  • Tomorrow just like today: reduce variability in the behavior, ask “do I really want the consequences of continually doing (or avoiding) this?” (96)
  • Self inventory: do you identify more w/your goals/values or w/your impulses/desires? (104)
  • Dopaminize your “I Will” power challenge (124)
  • Stress of desire (126)
  • Most effective stress release (137): exercising, spiritual practice, reading, listening to music, time w/loved ones, walk, massage, meditation, doing something creative
  • Pessimism for success (154)
  • Precommit to your future self (169)
  • Meet your future self (179-180)
  • Turn “I Won’t” into “I Will” (228)
  • Surf the Urge (231-2) – "urge" can be any destructive impulse, big or small

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