Friday, May 12, 2017

Cutting Edge Strategies to Improve Willpower

We all wish we had more will power, especially when it comes to diet and exercise. The good news is you can train your brain to get better at controlling your behavior. Here are a few tips from The Willpower Instinct by Kelly McGonigal.

Pause and Plan
The fight-or-flight instinct destroys our willpower because it triggers impulsive reactions. Choose the "pause and plan" response. "Your brain needs to bring the body on board to put the brakes on your impulses." Pause and Plan slows down your heart rate and blood pressure stays normal. You take a deep breath and relax your muscles a little. Here's how to do it:

Take a Deep Breath
Slowing down your breathing boosts your sense of self-control and allows you to respond more effectively to difficult situations. Deep breath shifts the brain and body from a state of stress to self-control mode, capable of handling cravings and challenges. Aim to make your exhale longer than your inhale.

Meditate
Daily meditation can increase neural connections to help you to stay focused, ignore distractions and control impulses. Incredibly, increased blood flow can reshape your brain quickly resulting in increased self-awareness and improved self-control.

Get Moving
Exercise can increase your willpower. Brains of new exercisers show increases in both gray matter - brain cells - and white matter, the insulation on brain cells that helps them communicate effectively. Exercise to feel energized and in control throughout the day. 

Use these three effective strategies; slow breathing, meditation and exercise; to keep will power saboteurs like depression, anxiety and chronic pain at bay. Reap the rewards of improved health and happiness.

Stay Active, Keep Moving and
Enjoy Your Food

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