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Self Control

Is Gratitude a Tool for Patience?

Wray Herbert | Posted 03.11.2014 | Science
Wray Herbert

In AA and other recovery programs, willpower is an unreliable tool for abstinence. Effortful self-regulation can and does fail us, and such failures can leave us vulnerable to impatient decision making. A better alternative can be seen in another practice well known in the rooms of recovery -- the gratitude list.

The Addict's Perilous Bargain

Wray Herbert | Posted 02.26.2014 | Science
Wray Herbert

Most of us are capable of bargaining for a distant payoff -- a college diploma, for example -- but addicts are bad at this calculation. So if addicts are so bad at temporal discounting, is it possible that this cognitive bias might be a marker of treatment success -- even a target of intervention?

How to Make Yourself Do Something When You Just Don't Want To

Heidi Grant Halvorson, Ph.D. | Posted 02.25.2014 | Healthy Living
Heidi Grant Halvorson, Ph.D.

Thinking about the consequences of failure, ignoring your feelings and engaging in detailed planning don't sound as fun as advice like "Follow your passion!" or "Stay positive!" But they have the decided advantage of actually being effective -- which, as it happens, is exactly what you'll be if you use them.

Now! Later. No, Right Now! Maybe in a Bit.

Wray Herbert | Posted 02.19.2014 | Science
Wray Herbert

Why would those who intentionally but irrationally put things off, who don't seem pressured by time -- why would these same people also tend to make rash decisions, without thought or planning? Procrastination and impulsivity are the odd couple of the human mind.

Stop! Don't Buy That! Be Happy!

Nancy Deville | Posted 04.12.2014 | Healthy Living
Nancy Deville

Conspicuous consumption is kind of a fun concept. We've all done it. Clothing. Cars. Jewelry. Homes. Does buying more things make you happier? Actuall...

Are Health Scientists Healthy?

Troy Campbell | Posted 03.26.2014 | Science
Troy Campbell

Behavioral scientists don't just study irrationality; we live with it. Despite our own efforts to live rational lives and all the effort we spend designing environments that help people behave more rationally, we scientists find ourselves choosing irrationally.

Is It Really Possible To Run Out Of Self-Control?

Posted 01.25.2014 | Healthy Living

Self-control seems awfully hard to come by when we're zapped of energy. But a new study suggests that trouble with self-control during times like thes...

Is Mindfulness Harmful?

Dr. Judson Brewer | Posted 03.17.2014 | Healthy Living
Dr. Judson Brewer

The absence of mind wandering likely does not equal the presence of mindfulness, and that effortlessness may be a key aspect of cultivating the fertile soil for creativity to grow.

Succumb to Your Desires in 2014: Controlling Them Only Intensifies the Urge

Scott Barry Kaufman | Posted 03.02.2014 | Science
Scott Barry Kaufman

Today millions of Americans will pull out their lists of New Year's resolutions, full of intentions to control their many temptations, from one-night stands to junk food to alcohol to smoking. What are the costs of all that self-control?

The Science Behind Successful Resolutions

Tasha Eurich, Ph.D. | Posted 03.03.2014 | Healthy Living
Tasha Eurich, Ph.D.

Even though making a resolution is thrilling, keeping it isn't easy. Many people aren't ready to make the serious commitment needed to succeed.

Prayer Study Reveals Benefits For Believers, Atheists Alike

| Piercarlo Valdesolo | Posted 12.26.2013 | Science

The religious find strength through God; this we know. But a new study conducted by Prof. Malt Friese and Michaela Wanke suggests that even non-believ...

7 Willpower Hacks To Help You Get Out Of Your Own Way

Posted 12.04.2013 | Healthy Living

We may know powerfully and innately what's most important to us, but when it comes to acting on our deepest values, many of us tend to get in our own ...

The Future of Smoking Cessation (Hint: It May Not Be E-Cigarettes)

Dr. Judson Brewer | Posted 01.25.2014 | Healthy Living
Dr. Judson Brewer

E-cigarettes made a big splash recently, with celebrities smoking them on talk shows and companies ramping up their production to rake in profits before the FDA comes in and regulates them. The tag line is that it is better to use an e-cigarette than smoke the real thing. But do they really help people quit?

Why We Need Slack in Our Lives, and Why Organizations Should Start Giving It to Us?

Jon Jachimowicz | Posted 01.23.2014 | Business
Jon Jachimowicz

The idea of structuring processes and tasks to most efficiently utilize employees' time and workload has an intuitive appeal -- isn't efficiency a goal many countries cherish and many people strive towards?

4 Reasons We Get Frustrated and How to Cope

Donna Labermeier | Posted 12.18.2013 | Healthy Living
Donna Labermeier

There are no random acts -- there is always meaning even if you do not see it -- so try not to waste your energy taking issue with whatever happens. Just go with the flow.

Sirens in the Grocery Aisles

Wray Herbert | Posted 01.23.2014 | Science
Wray Herbert

Very few of us have perfect self-control, but importantly, many of us are well aware of our limited power to say no. So it's sometimes possible to anticipate times of weakness and devise ways to restrict our own freedom.

Welcome to Season 44 of Sesame Street

Cookie Monster | Posted 11.16.2013 | Parents
Cookie Monster

The goal of Sesame Street's engaging and lovable monsters and diverse human cast has always been to help children reach their fullest potential. But now, we're modeling and practicing important self-regulation skills and strategies on the show.

Sue Parks: Why Exercise Is a Great Way to Boost Your Bottom Line

Sue Parks | Posted 11.13.2013 | Women
Sue Parks

Wouldn't it be great if your employees felt as accountable for their own health as they do for other aspects of the company?

Understanding a Billion Muslims: Ten Days, Ten Deeds

Dr. Faheem Younus | Posted 09.28.2013 | Religion
Dr. Faheem Younus

If you would like to know what the 99 percent of Muslims secretly believe in, man, do I have an absolutely great idea for you: perform ten deeds in ten days as the Muslim Holy month of Ramadan winds down.

Self-Control and Success

Art Markman, Ph.D. | Posted 09.17.2013 | Healthy Living
Art Markman, Ph.D.

If you were lucky enough to be born with a high level of self-control as a child, that bodes well for you in the future. But what if you are a "one-marshmallow person," prone to give in to short-term temptations?

This Is How You Face Fear

Dr. Judson Brewer | Posted 09.08.2013 | Healthy Living
Dr. Judson Brewer

So, if fear helps motivate us, what's wrong with injecting a bit of fear into our lives, so that we improve them? First, we can examine how well fear works as a motivator, and then see how it trips us up.

Katherine Bindley

The Reason You Might Be Giving Too Much In Your Relationship

HuffingtonPost.com | Katherine Bindley | Posted 06.28.2013 | Healthy Living

Relationships are supposedly all about compromise and the situations that can require a little give and take are endless. Whose friends are you going ...

The Two-Faced Nature Of Stress

Art Markman, Ph.D. | Posted 08.17.2013 | Healthy Living
Art Markman, Ph.D.

The effects of stress on willpower are a staple of romantic comedies. A character goes through a difficult romantic breakup, and in the next scene, she is sitting on the couch smeared in ice cream with empty wrappers strewn on the couch. Because these breakdowns of willpower are so clear when they happen, you might think that stressful situations bring out your worst behavior.

Dissecting Why You're So Angry (And What To Do About It)

Shayne Hughes | Posted 07.27.2013 | Healthy Living
Shayne Hughes

Anger is a destructive act of aggression, causing others to withdraw or escalate. When we express the truth of our feelings, we forge a creative space for connection, where the magic of human interaction becomes possible. Going beneath our anger allows us to lead constructively.

Karate Kids

Samantha McGarry | Posted 07.21.2013 | Parents
Samantha McGarry

There is, to quote the dojo that teaches our kids, "so much more to karate than learning to kick and punch."