Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Imuplses and the Brain

Have you been frustrated by impulse eating or impulse buying or impulse something else? According to Kelly McGonigal PhD, author of The Willpower Instinct,  many choices are made on autopilot. People make choices without even realizing they are making a choice and/or without serious reflection on the consequences of that choice. It boils down, at least in part, to self-awareness: the ability to realize in real time what you are doing and develop some understanding of the reason you are doing it. Self-awareness can lead to increased levels of self-control (just another way of making choices that are likely to result in positive outcomes). Studies have shown that when people are distracted they are more likely to make impulse choices (e.g., distracted students are 50% more likely to select cake over fruit for a snack; distracted shoppers are more likely to purchase items that were not on their list). McGonigal writes: "When your mind is preoccupied, your impulses¾not your long-term goals¾will guide your choices."

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