Kelly McGonigal began to appear on my radar last year. She was interviewed on the Buddhist Geeks podcast “Where Science and Compassion Meet” and spoke of the relationship between meditation and science. During an Authors@Google session in February, she spoke about scientific understanding of willpower, also the subject of her book, The Willpower Instinct: How Self-Control Works, Why It Matters, and What You Can Do To Get More of It.

In the talk she shared scientific findings about physiological, neurological and mental components of effective willpower enhancement. Sleeping well, meditating, exercising, eating largely plant-based diets —such as vegan diets or less effective diets that contain only small amounts of animal products—, being self-compassionate, minimizing guilt, thinking about our future selves, and imagining failure have been shown to improve willpower tremendously.

In my own experience, these interventions have been very helpful. Being more active and eating a vegan diet have been the two that have been most noticeably beneficial for me, but I am working to include them all in a constellation of willpower improving practices. I’m looking forward to reading her book and incorporating more insights into my efforts to improve my willpower.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.