2014 has been the year of books. I have probably devoured more books than I have hot dinners thanks, in part, to my Masters course in positive psychology. This list is a reflection of some of the topics I have been studying such as willpower, the mind body connection, the importance of exercise and nutrition to wellbeing and personal and visionary courage. I would recommend them all to the general reader as I have learned from and been inspired by all the books I have read. In no particular order of preference here is my list for 2014:
1. The UltraMind Solution: fix your broken brain by healing your body first
This is a really fascinating book by Dr Mark Hyman about the importance of food as medicine which looks at how what we choose to put in to our body affects both our physical and mental well-being. It is a great introduction to the concept of functional medicine in which the body and brain are all part of one interconnected system which needs to be viewed… Read the rest...
In part 1 of this series on willpower we looked how children who were able to exercise self-control (or self-regulation to use the scientific term) when they took the marshmallow test were much more likely to be successful in later life. The marshmallow test gave children the choice of having one marshmallow immediately or waiting for a period of time and getting two marshmallows. We also looked at the importance of getting very clear about your values and of setting specific goals which are aligned with these values. So now that you have your shiny new goals at the ready what is the best way to ensure that you are successful at your will power challenges? Here are three top willpower wonder drugs from the latest research in Kelly McGonical’s book Maximum Willpower to get you set on the track to success:
1. Get some exercise
How much is “some” you may ask? Kelly McGonical’s answer is how much are you willing to do? … Read the rest...
The Marshmallow Test via Igniter Media
You may be wondering what willpower has to do with happiness. Isn’t it just an exceptional strength that ultra-marathon runners and Olympians are born with, while other mere mortals have to contend with being born more weak-willed than we would like to be? You may be aware of your own strengths and weaknesses and simply decide that willpower is just not something you were born to be good at. (If you are not clear about your strengths one way to discover them is to use online tests such as the VIA survey or Gallup StrengthsFinder which are both very useful.) When you take the surveys you may find, like I did, that you score low on willpower (or self-regulation to use the scientific terminology). Of the 24 values which the VIA survey measures, self-regulation came 23rd on my list. Another test which is a good indicator of self-control is the marshmallow test, created by researcher Walter Mischel, which… Read the rest...
I’ve recently been researching the topic of self-regulation (or willpower to you and me) and it’s fascinating stuff. Let’s face it, most of us would like to have more willpower but are not sure how to go about developing it. Like many people who have taken the free VIA strengths survey to discover where your true strengths lie, self-regulation (aka willpower) comes fairly close to the bottom of the list. In future blog posts I will share some of the lessons I have learned about willpower. There are lots of fascinating and doable willpower tricks which I am really looking forward to teaching you. Meanwhile Happiness Experiment no 24 is to try a small willpower workout to build up your willpower muscle.
The Willpower Workout by Watchwellcast
Last weekend I was participating in a CTI training course in London as part of my training to become a coach. We were asked to look at an “issue” in our life which we could be coached on and I decided to look at procrastination as my issue as I have long held the belief that if only I could overcome my tendency to procrastinate on small administrative tasks, which somehow remain unfinished for months on end, I would somehow be happier. I struggled all weekend with finding any solution that resonated with me and although I completed the training having made the commitment to tackle my ever increasing pile of petty cash receipts which needed sorting, I was left with the overriding feeling that no matter which perspective I took I was never going to fall in love with doing petty chores. I decided to designate one day a month as a Get It Done Day (in which I tackle all unfinished tasks head on for a limited period of time to get the pain over with) and… Read the rest...
This article by Nicholas Ritchey appeared recently in the Psychology of Wellbeing blog and as it fits in nicely with the recent series of posts looking at how to bring about change I decided to feature in in The Happiness Experiment. If you are still resisting the changes you need to make to be happier this article teaches you how to accomplish your goals one tiny step at a time.
Kaizen: Accomplishing Big Goals with Tiny Steps
One Small Step by Aldo Aldoz
If you’re like me, you may have a book inside you just waiting to be written.
Or, it may be something else like painting a picture, picking up a musical instrument, or getting into the gym regularly. But since I don’t know your story, I can only tell you my own; and my goal was a book.
I knew I had at least one book in me, but when would I ever find the time to write it?
This article shares the solution to the problem of never having enough time to do what you want, for making procrastination a thing of the past,… Read the rest...
“He who has a why to live for can bear almost any how” Friedrich Nietzsche
Continuing with this week’s theme of introducing change in your life this great article by Jeremy McCarthy looks at ways to increase your willpower. Although most people think that lack of willpower is the main reason they fail to achieve the goals they have set for themselves it turns out the real reason is that they lack motivation not willpower. Before you embark on setting yourself yet another goal which is doomed to failure ask yourself how much you really want to achieve that goal. Choosing to live a happier life is a really important goal so please read this article to help you to find the motivation to bring about the positive changes you want in you life from now on. It’s an experiment that’s worth trying.
Willpower and behaviour change: wanting what you want to want
The American Psychological Association recently commissioned… Read the rest...