The Willpower Instinct: How Self-Control Works, Why It Matters, and What You Can Do to Get More of It

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Based on Stanford University psychologist Kelly McGonigal's wildly popular course "The Science of Willpower," The Willpower Instinct is the first book to explain the science of self-control and how it can be harnessed to improve our health, happiness, and productivity.

Informed by the latest research and combining cutting-edge insights from psychology, economics, neuroscience, and medicine, The Willpower Instinct explains exactly what willpower is, how it works, and why it matters. For example, readers will learn:


   •  Willpower is a mind-body response, not a virtue. It is a biological function that can be improved through mindfulness, exercise, nutrition, and sleep.
   •  Willpower is not an unlimited resource. Too much self-control can actually be bad for your health.
   •  Temptation and stress hijack the brain's systems of self-control, but the brain can be trained for greater willpower
   •  Guilt and shame over your setbacks lead to giving in again, but self-forgiveness and self-compassion boost self-control.
   •  Giving up control is sometimes the only way to gain self-control.
   •  Willpower failures are contagious—you can catch the desire to overspend or overeat from your friends­­—but you can also catch self-control from the right role models.
In the groundbreaking tradition of Getting Things Done, The Willpower Instinct combines life-changing prescriptive advice and complementary exercises to help readers with goals ranging from losing weight to more patient parenting, less procrastination, better health, and greater productivity at work.
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About the author

Kelly McGonigal, Ph.D., is an award-winning psychology instructor at Stanford University, and a lecturer and program developer at the Stanford Center for Compassion and Altruism Research and Education. She is also the author of The Joy of MovementThe Upside of Stress, and Yoga for Pain Relief. McGonigal lives in the San Francisco Bay Area.
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Additional Information

Publisher
Penguin
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Published on
Dec 29, 2011
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Pages
272
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ISBN
9781101553732
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Features
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Language
English
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Genres
Psychology / Applied Psychology
Self-Help / Personal Growth / Happiness
Self-Help / Self-Management / General
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Eligible for Family Library

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Your every significant choice -- every important decision you make -- is determined by a force operating deep inside your mind: your perspective on time -- your internal, personal time zone. This is the most influential force in your life, yet you are virtually unaware of it. Once you become aware of your personal time zone, you can begin to see and manage your life in exciting new ways.

In The Time Paradox, Drs. Zimbardo and Boyd draw on thirty years of pioneering research to reveal, for the first time, how your individual time perspective shapes your life and is shaped by the world around you. Further, they demonstrate that your and every other individual's time zones interact to create national cultures, economics, and personal destinies.

You will discover what time zone you live in through Drs. Zimbardo and Boyd's revolutionary tests. Ask yourself:

• Does the smell of fresh-baked cookies bring you back to your childhood?

• Do you believe that nothing will ever change in your world?

• Do you believe that the present encompasses all and the future and past are mere abstractions?

• Do you wear a watch, balance your checkbook, and make to-do lists -- every day?

• Do you believe that life on earth is merely preparation for life after death?

• Do you ruminate over failed relationships?

• Are you the life of every party -- always late, always laughing, and always broke?

These statements are representative of the seven most common ways people relate to time, each of which, in its extreme, creates benefits and pitfalls. The Time Paradox is a practical plan for optimizing your blend of time perspectives so you get the utmost out of every minute in your personal and professional life as well as a fascinating commentary about the power and paradoxes of time in the modern world.

No matter your time perspective, you experience these paradoxes. Only by understanding this new psychological science of time zones will you be able to overcome the mental biases that keep you too attached to the past, too focused on immediate gratification, or unhealthily obsessed with future goals. Time passes no matter what you do -- it's up to you to spend it wisely and enjoy it well. Here's how.
Explore the human mind and understand the science behind how people think and act in a wide variety of everyday situations with this brand-new visual guide to applied psychology.

Using straightforward definitions and clear, striking visuals, this book makes the workings of the brain easy to understand and shows what happens when things go wrong, with information on disorders such as anxiety and paranoia, as well as explanations of the different therapies that are used to treat them, from CBT to psychoanalysis, group therapy to art therapy.

How Psychology Works explains hundreds of psychological terms clearly and simply, such as neurosis, psychosis, psychopathy, self-efficacy, flow, human factors, and false memory syndrome. It also includes an introduction to the different approaches psychologists use to understand how we behave and think and a detailed look at how the brain influences behavior and psychological health.

With its combination of bold infographics and clear, easy-to-understand text, this book explores and explains the various approaches that psychologists use to study how people think and behave, such as behaviorism, cognitive psychology, and humanism, and shows how these approaches can be applied to real-world situations. With examples from the workplace to the sports field, the courtroom to the classroom, How Psychology Works shows how psychology plays a huge role in all of our lives and offers a greater understanding of what influences behavior, thoughts, and feelings in a variety of environments and scenarios.

The author of The Willpower Instinct delivers a controversial and groundbreaking new book that overturns long-held beliefs about stress.
 
More than forty-four percent of Americans admit to losing sleep over stress. And while most of us do everything we can to reduce it, Stanford psychologist and bestselling author Kelly McGonigal, Ph.D., delivers a startling message: Stress isn’t bad. In The Upside of Stress, McGonigal highlights new research indicating that stress can, in fact, make us stronger, smarter, and happier—if we learn how to embrace it.
 
The Upside of Stress is the first book to bring together cutting-edge discoveries on the correlation between resilience—the human capacity for stress-related growth—and mind-set, the power of beliefs to shape reality. As she did in The Willpower Instinct, McGonigal combines science, stories, and exercises into an engaging and practical book that is both entertaining and life-changing, showing you:

   •  how to cultivate a mind-set to embrace stress
   •  how stress can provide focus and energy
   •  how stress can help people connect and strengthen close relationships
   •  why your brain is built to learn from stress, and how to increase its ability to learn from challenging experiences
 
McGonigal’s TED talk on the subject has already received more than 7 million views. Her message resonates with people who know they can’t eliminate the stress in their lives and want to learn to take advantage of it. The Upside of Stress is not a guide to getting rid of stress, but a guide to getting better at stress, by understanding it, embracing it, and using it.
Why is it so hard to make lasting changes in our companies, in our communities, and in our own lives?

The primary obstacle is a conflict that's built into our brains, say Chip and Dan Heath, authors of the critically acclaimed bestseller Made to Stick. Psychologists have discovered that our minds are ruled by two different systems - the rational mind and the emotional mind—that compete for control. The rational mind wants a great beach body; the emotional mind wants that Oreo cookie. The rational mind wants to change something at work; the emotional mind loves the comfort of the existing routine. This tension can doom a change effort - but if it is overcome, change can come quickly.

In Switch, the Heaths show how everyday people - employees and managers, parents and nurses - have united both minds and, as a result, achieved dramatic results:

• The lowly medical interns who managed to defeat an entrenched, decades-old medical practice that was endangering patients
• The home-organizing guru who developed a simple technique for overcoming the dread of housekeeping 
• The manager who transformed a lackadaisical customer-support team into service zealots by removing a standard tool of customer service 

In a compelling, story-driven narrative, the Heaths bring together decades of counterintuitive research in psychology, sociology, and other fields to shed new light on how we can effect transformative change. Switch shows that successful changes follow a pattern, a pattern you can use to make the changes that matter to you, whether your interest is in changing the world or changing your waistline.
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