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"How to Deal With All the Negativity on the News" Review

If you've been stressed or down on yourself, it may be time for a personal check-in. The negativity that surrounds you may be seeping into your unconscious. Check out Kate Cummins' suggestions for how to deal with this overbearing challenge (from the article How to Deal With All the Negativity on the News).

1. Check Your Emotions Regularly


News stations purposely engage you through emotional content. For them it’s just business. But unfortunately, negative news has the ability to keep you engaged without fully realizing how the information makes you feel.

So observe your news-watching habits. As you view local stations, do you pay attention to the way you connect to the information? Do you ever flip through channels and stop to watch a story that you never expected to be interested in seeing? Some content makes your heart race, holds your attention and keeps you engaged in the story, while other content fills you with anger or sorrow.

Then observe how your body reacts to the news you’re watching. Do you feel your heart racing? Do you feel your stomach twist with nerves or feel the weight of sadness coming over you? These bodily symptoms are connected with negative emotions, and they are called somatic symptoms. They engage your sympathetic nervous system (the part of your body that runs in attack mode) and can mimic anxiety.

So the next time you’re watching the nightly news or scrolling through stories on your go-to news site, check your body and feelings. If the information is making you stressed, turn it off. Get away. Detach. Knowing your limit of information flow will help decrease your connection to unhealthy emotions and keep you in control of your mental health.

2. Change Your Environment


Do you pay attention to where you get your news? Do you watch the morning edition while getting ready for work? Tune in at night while making dinner for your family? Or do you do one last check of Facebook/Twitter before you go to bed?

Negative information has the ability to wrangle its way into your long-term memories and means you’re likely to connect negative emotions to the place where you view the sad stories. Paying attention to where you watch news and limiting the environment can help you stay positive.

Think about it this way: Would you invite someone to sit on your couch if he or she told horrific stories the entire time? Probably not. As human beings, we need a place to detach from the world.

You work hard to create a peaceful living space and to make your house a home. Try to only watch the news on the bus, in your office or some other neutral location. Or bring your computer to a coffee shop and limit your news searching to certain spaces, so you can be free of negativity in your own space.

3. Talk About What You See, and Let It Go


It may seem counterintuitive to talk about the sad or horrifying stories you see on the news, but it can actually help you put them out of your mind. Do you have someone you feel safe talking about tragedy with? It’s important to engage in conversation with people you trust. Getting emotional information out in the open can release it from becoming internalized worry and concern.

There are also many community resources that you can use to discuss concerns and take action. For example, social-media groups and meetup events in the community are geared toward specific audiences. You can find like-minded people in these groups that may help you discuss the world around you.

Always make sure you have someone available to lend you an ear about negative information. If you can, find someone who will help encourage you out of the depression and anxiety that can arise from sad stories.

4. Be Aware of What Others Around You Are Saying


Social media has become a main source of connection in our world. However, it can also be a place of negative content. Do you find yourself cringing when a specific person’s posts pop up? Do your friends post a lot of negative information? If you’re surrounding yourself with people posting stories that are bringing you down, it may feel almost impossible to find positivity in life.

Sometimes the best remedy is disconnecting from social media. Don’t feel bad for unfollowing pessimistic people. Your social network, via online or in person, has to be a source of encouragement. Find stories that make you feel good. Most news sources have positive highlight stories in certain sections of their websites. Search for hero stories and you’ll find yourself in a better place emotionally.

5. Go Do Something to Change Your Tune


One of the biggest problem with disheartening news stories is that most of the time it seems like there’s nothing one person can do to change it. And that can make you feel like things are out of your control.

The best way to combat internal sadness is to do something good in your community. Turn off the television, get online and find an organization that compels you to get involved. Buy a meal for someone in need. Volunteer at a place that could use your help.

Behavioral activation increases your feelings of hope. And hopelessness is directly linked to depression. If you’re able to increase your ability to change something small in your environment, you will increase feelings of hopefulness. The world needs you to do great things. Go volunteer with your family or friends and get moving!

How do you deal with negativity? This topic is definitely worth reflection. You may also want to read "99 Ways to Redefine Yourself Today" for more life-changing inspiration.

Picture Credit: Livestrong.com-How do you think the "news" is really making you feel about yourself and the world?

More to Read:
Are you having trouble losing weight? Read "The 50 Best Weight-Loss Tips From 2015 " Review. This list helped my personal training clients in 2015 and will help you today.

Article Credit:
Author: Michael Moody Fitness with excerpt sourced from the article " How to Deal With All the Negativity on the News " on Livestrong.com.
"How to Deal With All the Negativity on the News" Review
Learn how to lose weight from a personal trainer in Chicago.
 
Transform your life with Michael's  self-help book   Redefine Yourself here !


Transform your life with Michael's self-help book Redefine Yourself here!

 

"26 Ways to Feel Full While Eating Less" Review

How can we eat less to lose weight while still feeling full? Check out these diet tricks that you should start today: 26 Ways to Feel Full While Eating Less!

Which tricks do you use to feel full?

Are you having trouble losing weight? Read "The 50 Best Weight-Loss Tips From 2015 " Review. This list helped my personal training clients in 2015 and will help you today.

Picture Credit: EatThis.com-Will eating yogurt increase your cravings for junk food?

Article Credit:
Author: Michael Moody Fitness with excerpt sourced from the article " 26 Ways to Feel Full While Eating Less " on EatThis.com.
"26 Ways to Feel Full While Eating Less" Review
Learn how to lose weight from a personal trainer in Chicago.
 
Transform your life with Michael's s elf-help book Redefine Yourself here !

Transform your life with Michael's self-help book Redefine Yourself here!

 

"Are Hot Workouts Healthier?" Review

If you intend to take (or currently attend) anything from Bikram yoga to heated spin classes, you'll want to read the truth behind these "hot" workouts...they may not have the health benefits you think (from the article Are Hot Workouts Healthier?)!

From Bikram yoga to heated spin classes, fitness gyms are turning up the heat. What to know before you go.


Latosha Lovell is always willing to try something once. "That's sort of my philosophy about life," says the 45-year-old interior designer in Pasadena, California. So when a friend invited her to check out The Sweat Shoppe, a new heated spin studio in North Hollywood, last March, she saddled up. The workout, she thought, could be the perfect cardio substitution for her regular treadmill sessions that had begun to wear on her knees.

That first class was a fog. "I was totally exhausted and a little confused" afterward, Lovell recalls. But the prevailing memory is a positive one: "I felt completely amazing." She soon began taking up to five classes at The Sweat Shoppe each week and now credits the studio with her 8-pound weight loss, strong lower body and core, reduced environmental allergies and mental grit. "It's greatly improved my quality of life on the health level," she says.

While The Sweat Shoppe is the country's first heated spin studio, it's not the only place taking a cue from Bikram yoga – a style of hot yoga that took off in the 1970s. Plenty of studios are turning up the heat during exercise classes, a practice that owners claim intensifies workouts, among other benefits. Gym-goers are eating it up: The Sweat Shoppe, for one, opened with both heated and non-heated classes, but switched to exclusively offering hot classes to keep up with the demand, says Mimi Benz, who founded the studio with her spin instructor husband in 2011 after a broken air conditioner in a spin class spurred the idea.

"People were really into the heated thing," she says. The studio has since relocated to a larger space and has seen a relatively consistent 30 percent growth in revenue year over year, Benz says. The heated classes at CorePower Yoga, a studio chain that fuses the mindfulness of yoga with the intensity of other workouts, meanwhile, are the most popular and widely offered, says Heather Peterson, the company's chief yoga officer. The chain opened its first studio in 2002 and now has 150. "A lot of people just love a really good sweat," she says.

Hot and Beneficial or Hot and Bothered?


Burn more calories and lose weight by working harder; cleanse the body by sweating more; reduce risk of injury by loosening the muscles – there are plenty of theories as to why heated fitness classes may be healthier than their cooler counterparts, but most raise eyebrows among exercise professionals.

"The only benefits [are] if you're an endurance athlete and you're trying to train for a race and you're trying to acclimatize your body and mind toward exercise in the heat," says Diana Zotos Florio, a physical therapist and yoga teacher in the New York City area. "Otherwise, all of the proposed benefits … aren't true. There's no point; there's more risk than anything else. We're just not designed for it."

Still, most experts agree that people who are in good shape and lack certain medical conditions can benefit from heated workouts, as they would from any exercise. "I certainly advocate and promote exercise – you just have to have the preparation and the tolerance level for what you're about to undertake, and then it can be a fun thing and probably pretty good for you," says Michael Bergeron, senior vice president of development and applications in the Center for Advanced Analytics in Sport & Health at Game Changer Analytics. "I just don't think there's anything particularly special about it."

Tempted to turn up the temperature on your workout? Heed these expert tips first:

1. Know the risks.


Some people – namely those with heart or lung problems – should avoid heated workouts. Pregnant women and those taking medications that affect body temperature should consult with their doctors before taking a hot class. And everyone else should be aware of the very real risks of dehydration and overheating, says Dr. Jason Zaremski, an assistant professor in the University of Florida College of Medicine's department of orthopedics and rehabilitation.

"The major concern is that your body's core temperature will begin to rise and you put your internal organs and central nervous system at risk," he says. Another issue: Getting too tired too soon can affect your posture and alter your ability to control your muscles and movements, boosting your risk for injury, Bergeron adds. As Zotos puts it, "people tend to stretch deeper [in heated classes,] but they're not ready for it," she says. "That's where you tend to get injuries to your tendons or ligaments."

2. Do your research.


"Hot" varies from class to class – some may hover around 80 degrees; a Bikram yoga class will be close to 105 degrees. Humidity and ventilation differ, too. All make a big difference in your ability to handle – and benefit from – heated classes, experts say. Benz recommends talking to the studio ahead of time about the room's environment; The Sweat Shoppe, which keeps its classes at 80 to 84 degrees, for example, has cooler "microclimates" in the room where newbies can sit.

3. Manage expectations.


If you're a fitness enthusiast looking for a new challenge or an elite athlete personal training for a race, a heated class could be a good fit. But if you're trying to burn more calories while doing less work, trim fat or "detox," keep in mind the support for such benefits is thin at best. "Hotter workouts are harder than performing the exact same workout at a lower temperature; thus, you will burn more calories," Zaremski concedes. "But if you cannot maintain the same level of intensity and exertion in a heated environment … this defeats the purpose."

Looking to lose fat? Stick to an air-conditioned gym, Bergeron advises. "As your body heats up, you favor burning carbohydrate versus fat," he says. "So, even though you may feel you are getting a 'better' workout, if burning body fat is your goal, exercise in cool conditions."

And while it's true that exercising in hotter conditions can increase plasma volume, reduce resting heart rate, improve cardiovascular efficiency and enhance your sweat mechanism, “these adaptations vary and are dependent on multiple factors,” such as how hard, long and often you work out in those conditions, Zaremski points out. Simply exercising, Zotos says, is the safer way to reap the benefits of an elevated heart rate.

And the idea that sweating profusely purges your body of toxins? Hogwash, experts say. "What you're sweating out is just sodium and calcium and potassium, and those are nutrients your body needs," Zotos says. "The only way you detoxify is by having a fully functioning liver and kidneys." Even The Sweat Shoppe's Benz agrees that the research isn't there to support heat's cleansing effect on the body. "We don't really do it for the detoxing thing," she says, "even though I know people were drawn to that word."

4. Listen to your body – and your buddy.


The Sweat Shoppe instructors are trained to recognize signs of fatigue, teach modifications and encourage people to sit, stop or slow down if they start feeling lightheaded, Benz says. "We don't push people." That's important, experts say, since the heated environment can actually reduce your capability to recognize your limits. "Overheating can affect your brain and cognitive function; thus, you are often not the best person to assess your own status and stop," says Bergeron, who recommends the buddy system for heated classes.

5.Drink lots – lots – of water.


The morning after Ali Hines' first Bikram yoga class, she threw up. "It wasn't the class," says the 31-year-old in District of Columbia, whose next heated classes went smoother. "I just didn't prepare or I didn't drink enough water." Indeed, drinking enough water is the No. 1 priority before heading to a hot workout, pros say. And in heated classes, "enough" probably means more than you think. "Make sure you're well-hydrated well in advance of getting there," says Chris Fluck, a Bikram yoga instructor in Philadelphia, who also recommends adding a pinch of salt to your water after class to replenish minerals lost through sweat.

6. Believe in yourself.


When Lovell feels like she can't push any harder during a fitness class, she draws on the energy of the riders around her and reminds herself that getting through the workout will only make her stronger. It works. "When you're in there and you're subject to that level of heat, you have to get out of your head, and it takes a lot of mental strength to get through that," she says. "It's helped me in other areas of my life."

Copyright 2016 U.S. News & World Report

Is a "hot" workout the right approach for you? What other dangers or cautions have you identified?

Are you having trouble losing weight? You may need to change your morning routine. Read 30 Best Breakfast Habits to Drop 5 Pounds.

Picture Credit: MSN.com/© Dina Rudick/The Boston Globe via Getty Images-Do you need to sweat to lose weight or achieve your best shape?

Article Credit:
Author: Michael Moody Fitness with excerpt sourced from the article " Are Hot Workouts Healthier? " on MSN.com.
"Are Hot Workouts Healthier?" Review
Learn how to lose weight from a personal trainer in Chicago.
 
Transform your life with Michael's s elf-help book Redefine Yourself here !

Transform your life with Michael's self-help book Redefine Yourself here!

 

"20 Easy Ways to Lose 5 Pounds at Work" Review

Looking for easy ways to lose weight at work? I've dissected the recent article "20 Easy Ways to Lose 5 Pounds at Work" and chose the 17 most effective strategies you should try. Take a look!

1. NEVER—EVER!—POWER UP WITH SODA


It's tempting to gulp down a diet soda to get over that mid-afternoon slump. But don't do it! A University of Texas Health Science Center study found that adults who drank diet soda experienced a whopping 70 percent increase in weight circumference when compared with non-soda drinkers. Plus, aspartame is shown to raise glucose levels to a point where it's converted into fat.

2. GUZZLE H20


Are you really hungry, or are you actually just thirsty? A study in the journal Physiology & Behavior suggests people inappropriately respond to thirst over 60 percent of the time by eating instead of drinking. Even if you're not hankering for a thirst-quencher, preloading meals with plain ol' calorie-free water can shave hundreds of calories from your daily intake. And if plain water sounds boring, you can add some practically calorie-free fresh citrus to create a health-boosting (and flavorful!) detox water. Plus, that glass of refreshing H2O does more than hydrate your body. According to a study published in The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism, drinking 17 ounces of water increased the metabolic rate of participants by 30 percent. Add an extra 1.5 liters of water to your workday intake, and you could burn 17,400 calories a year!

3. TAKE THE STAIRS


This is an obvious one, but you may be surprised how much weight you can lose by doing it. You have a file you need to deliver to the 15th floor, but your office is on the 10th. Use the stairs instead of the elevator, and you'll burn twice as many calories as you do walking. According to the University of New Mexico Health Sciences Center, a 150-pound person could lose about 6 pounds per year just by climbing up two flights of stairs every day! Bump that up to six, and you could drop 18 pounds without ever hitting the gym (or personal training studio).

4. SIT ON A STABILITY BALL


Swapping out your desk chair for a stability ball will help you strengthen your core and burn more calories at the same time. According to Jill Koegel, RD, a sports-certified registered dietitian, sitting on one of those big sports balls during your workday can burn up to an extra 100 calories a day. If you work 300 days in a year, that could add up to an extra 30,000 calories—or about 8.5 pounds!

5. CONVERT TO A STANDING DESK


Did you know that you burn more calories just by standing? It's true! According to Koegel, standing burns around 50 more calories per hour than if you're just sitting at your desk. That can add up almost 7 pounds of extra weight lost a year, all while you're at work. Plus, standing has numerous benefits for your core strength, posture and even your mental health: It's even shown to make you more productive. Bring on that promotion!

6. SWAP OUT YOUR MORNING COFFEE FOR GREEN TEA


Coffee might give you a caffeine jolt in the morning, but green tea can supply less jittery energy—and plenty of fat-burning qualities (Read this to find out how caffeine could prevent you from losing body fat). A study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found teas—including green teas—contain catechins that boost fat oxidation. Plus, Taiwanese researchers found that the 1,100 people they studied over 10 years who drank green tea had 20 percent less body fat than others who didn't drink it.

7. BRING YOUR LUNCH —EVERY DAY


Think you know how many calories are in that fast-food meal you grabbed during your lunch hour? Think again: A 2013 study published in BMJ found that the average takeout meal ordered by adults contained an average of 836 calories. Calorie counts listed on menus help, but the study showed adults underestimated the number of calories by about 175 per meal. That can add up to a serious amount of weight each year (Especially this list of 17 meals that will erase your weight loss).

Instead, spend part of your weekend meal-prepping for the week ahead. Opting for even a 500-calorie meal during your lunch break can save you more than 300 calories over the average grab-and-go meal—a difference of 1,500 calories for a five-day workweek. Work an average of 50 weeks a year and that's 75,000 fewer calories consumed, or about 21.5 pounds a year!

8. BALANCE YOUR SALAD


"Big salads" a popular lunchtime choice, but don't just fill up with a bunch of greens that will make you hungry again by your 3 p.m. meeting. For a salad to be filling, it needs protein (chicken, eggs, deli meat) and fiber (beans, avocado). To maximize flavor, pair sweet (tomatoes, apples) with sharp (onion, olives) and savory (meat). Plus, a salad needs crunch; nuts and raw bell peppers are your best bets (Careful, though...not all salads are created equal. Read my post Why Salad is so Overrated).

9. STASH SOME CHIA SEEDS, TOO


Since you only need a sprinkling (a tablespoon at most, if you're being aggressive!), a packet of chia seeds can last forever—and be an easy way to instantly add nutrition to your at-desk breakfasts or lunches. "Chia seeds are chock-full of heart-healthy omega-3s, fiber, protein and calcium," says Sarah Koszyk, MA, RD, founder of Family. Food. Fiesta. "Chia seeds are easily absorbed by the body, so they're very nourishing and satiating."

10. KEEP THE SWEETS OUT OF SIGHT


Out of sight, out of mouth? Simply reorganizing your pantry's "top hits" could translate into serious calorie savings, according to researchers at Google. A study, conducted at the search engine's New York office dubbed "Project M&M" found that placing chocolate candies in opaque containers as opposed to glass ones, and giving healthier snacks more prominent shelf space, curbed M&M consumption by 3.1 million calories in just seven weeks. A similar study published in the Journal of Marketing found that people are more likely to overeat small treats from transparent packages than from opaque ones.

11. SCHEDULE YOUR WORKOUT SESSIONS


If other people can see when your calendar is free or busy, go ahead and block out certain times for either early morning, lunchtime, or after-hours potential workout (or personal training) sessions. Even if you haven't signed up for the class yet, this will help deter coworkers (particularly those in different time zones) from thinking that a 5 p.m. conference call (4 p.m. their time!) is totally cool. And then go ahead and actually treat your appointments like a real meeting and get your butt to the gym!

12. SEEK OUT SOMEONE TO BE HEALTHY WITH YOU


It's a heck of a lot easier to turn down a cupcake for Mary Jo's birthday if you have another healthy-minded coworker holding you accountable. Otherwise, you may look around at everyone else stuffing themselves with sugar and feel like you should, too; after all, a 2014 review study published in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics found that people tend to conform to "eating norms" in social settings. If all else fails, you and your calorie-counting friend can split that cupcake!

13. TAKE A 2-MINUTE WALK EVERY HOUR


You think you may walk a lot at work, but very rarely is anyone walking through their office for more than 20 seconds. Try timing yourself the first couple of times you walk for one minute (so that it's a two-minute round-trip back to your desk) to develop a couple options for your "walking routes." Here's why it's worth a try: A recent study in the Clinical Journal of the American Society of Nephrology found that a two-minute walk every hour can offset the effects of too much sitting.

14. ALWAYS EAT LUNCH AT LUNCHTIME


Spanish researchers found that obese women who ate their lunch after 3 p.m. lost 25 percent less weight than those who ate their lunch earlier in the day. Even though both groups ate the same foods and the same amount of calories, the early bird diners lost five pounds more. Scientists believe that waiting to eat until you're starving may spark cravings for more food later in the day.

15. KEEP TRACK OF YOUR FOOD AND DRINK INTAKE


It can sound tedious, but what's one more to-do on your list of desk duties? If you aren't great about journaling your diet once you're home, just fill in the blanks at work the next day. A study from Tulane University found that people who used phone apps for weight loss reported shedding more pounds and feeling more motivated to make healthy changes than people using traditional fitness trackers.

16. SQUEEZE IN TINY WORKOUTS


That mom of three who also teaches spin class and always looks fanfreakintastic? Awesome. But that's not attainable for everyone, which can leave you feeling frustrated that you can't be a workout god or goddess, too. The good news: You only need 2 and a half minutes to boost your metabolism and start burning calories, too. Research printed in the journal Physiological Reports showed that people who did five 30-second bursts of max-effort cycling, followed by 4 minutes of rest, burned 200 extra calories that day and boosted their metabolism for the next 24-48 hours. It's highly unlikely you have a stationary bike handy at your place of work, but a similar result could be achieved by running up the stairs and doing jumping jacks.

17. ANALYZE IF YOU'RE COMFORTING YOURSELF WITH FOOD


Whether you stuff yourself when you get home from work because you hate your job or you slip out for a fattening "coffee" drink after your boss laid into you about something minor, be sure to take stock of how your job makes you respond with food. In an Orlando Health survey of more than a thousand respondents, only 10 percent of people listed their psychological well-being as part of their weight loss journey. The problem? Not being in tune with your emotions and their connection to food is why nearly 66 percent of people gain weight back after losing it. "Most people focus almost entirely on the physical aspects of weight loss, like diet and exercise," neuropsychologist and Program Director of Integrative Medicine at Orlando Health Diane Robinson, Ph.D. said in a press release. "But there is an emotional component to food that the vast majority of people simply overlook and it can quickly sabotage their efforts."

How do you lose weight at work? You may also want to check out the list The 68 Best Ways to Lose Body Fat and More for other ideas.

Picture Credit: www.MSN.com - My personal training clients have used a lot of these strategies to lose weight at work. Is replacing coffee with green tea an effective strategy?

Article Credit:
Author: Michael Moody Fitness with excerpt sourced from the article "20 Easy Ways to Lose 5 Pounds at Work" on www.msn.com
"20 Easy Ways to Lose 5 Pounds at Work" Review
Learn how to lose weight from a personal trainer in Chicago.
 

"4 Science-Backed Hacks to Strengthen Your Self-Control" Review

Even when armed with the most effective tools to lose weight or reach your fitness peak, your self-control (willpower) will be the defining factor in your success. The message below could be the push you need to overcome the hurdle to your best self (from the article 4 Science-Backed Hacks to Strengthen Your Self-Control).

The Willpower Workout


In their book “Willpower: Rediscovering the Greatest Human Strength,” Roy F. Baumeister and John Tierney disclosed the idea that willpower is like a muscle that can be strengthened.

The authors argue that the mental equivalent of high-rep, low-weight training can boost willpower. Their method: Start small, then build. Little willpower wins over the course of a day, week, or month can lead to larger gains down the road.

As an example, Baumeister and Tierney cite performance artist David Blaine. When he trains for his strange public feats —such as spending 64 hours inside a giant ice cube—he does so by practicing small acts of willpower, such as not drinking alcohol. “Getting your brain wired into little goals and achieving them helps you achieve the bigger things you shouldn’t be able to do,’’ Blaine said. “It’s not just practicing the specific thing."

If your goal is to diet and lose weight , you can build your willpower by doing seemingly non-related things – like taking a walk every day, or cleaning your home every night.

If you’re Blaine, maybe you shave your creepy facial hair every day. Whatever works for you.

4 Proven Willpower Hacks


1. POSTPONEMENT OF DESIRE - You can, for lack of a better word, trick yourself into better behavior. Nicole Mead of the Catolica-Lisbon School of Business and Economics and her colleagues say that postponing consumption of an unhealthy snack to an unspecified future time reduces snack intake. Mead believes that reducing desire, rather than strengthening willpower, is an effective strategy for controlling unwanted food-related cravings.

Postponement gives the brain a cooling-off period that leads to more snack no’s than yesses, Mead told WebMD. She adds that the postponement should not be specific. In other words, you shouldn’t say, “I’ll eat that entire Fudgie the Whale Carvel Ice Cream Cake in 30 minutes.” You should say, “I’ll eat the cake at some point later.”

2. FLEX YOUR MUSCLES - But there’s another trick you can use if you feel your willpower slipping: Flex your muscles. Iris W. Hung of the National University of Singapore and Aparna A. Labroo of the University of Chicago conducted a study in which participants were who were instructed to tighten their muscles, regardless of which muscles they tightened, demonstrated a greater ability to withstand pain, consume unpleasant medicine, attend to disturbing but essential information and overcome tempting foods.

The researches theorize that the body primes the mind.

3. USE MENTAL IMAGERY - Mental imagery, used by athletes worldwide, is another willpower hack. According to Harvard researchers, people who do a good deed or who imagine doing a good deed are better able to perform tasks of physical endurance.

In a strange twist, those who envisioned themselves doing something bad had more endurance than those who envisioned themselves doing something good. In this case, researchers believe that the mind primes the body.

The findings are based on two studies. In the first, participants were given a dollar and told either to keep it or give it to charity. They were then asked to hold a five-pound weight for as long as they could. Those who donated to charity held the weight for an average of almost 10 seconds longer.

In a second study, participants held a weight while writing fictional stories in which they helped another person, harmed another person or did something that had no impact on other people.

Participants who wrote about doing good were significantly stronger than those whose actions didn't benefit anyone. Researchers were surprised to learn that the people who wrote about harming others were even stronger than the participants who envisioned helping someone.

"Whether you're saintly or nefarious, there seems to be power in moral events," researcher Kurt Gray said when the study was published. "People often look at others who do great or evil deeds and think, 'I could never do that' or 'I wouldn't have the strength to do that.' But in fact, this research suggests that physical strength may be an effect, not a cause, of moral acts."

So next time you’re jogging and getting tired, picture yourself on a heroic quest to save the princess—or murder her father, the beloved king.

4. MODIFY YOUR ENVIRONMENT - You can also trick your brain by modifying your environment. Consumer psychologist Brian Wansink discovered that people eat and drink more out of bigger containers.

In one of his studies people lost weight when they ate off salad plates instead of large dinner plates, kept unhealthy foods out of sight, moved healthier foods to eye-level and ate in the kitchen or dining room instead of in front of the television.

Willpower Depletion


Like your muscles, your willpower can tire out. According to a study co-authored by Baumeister, the more frequently and recently people resisted a desire, the less successful they will be at resisting subsequent desires. He believes people only have so much willpower to use during the day.

How can you tell if your willpower is depleted?

People with low willpower feel things, both physically and emotionally, more intensely. Baumeister and his colleagues found that people with low willpower reported more distress in response to an upsetting film and rated cold water as more painful during a cold-water immersion test.

Making choices isn’t the only way to burn through your willpower. Another culprit: hunger. Another Baumeister study concluded that acts of self-control reduce blood glucose levels and low blood glucose levels predict a lack of self-control. It’s the proverbial vicious cycle.

The good news is that glucose is sugar, which is fuel for the brain, and it can be replenished. Ideally your sugar should come from a healthy source, such as fruits.

Don’t drink a regular soda to avoid eating a cookie.

What you want to do is ward off decision fatigue. McMaster University associate professor of kinesiology Kathleen Martin Ginis says that having to make many decisions can cause a person to cave into temptation.

In his efficiency book "Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity," David Allen urges busy people who want to be more productive to create folders in their email, and in their file cabinets, into which they can file decisions that don’t need to be made until later.

Allen’s tactic acknowledges that it takes a lot of energy to focus on the present and remain productive. Folders remove the burdens of constant decision-making.

Ginis said making regular plans to exercise at the same time every day also nets positive results.

The Depletion Debate


Not everyone agrees with the Baumeister camp. Many researchers believe that willpower, in fact, can not be depleted. For example, Stanford psychologists found that people who think willpower can be depleted are more likely to be tired when performing a tough task. People who think that willpower cannot be drained easily stay on task longer without losing focus.

So which one are you?

Can you stay focused on one thing for long periods of time? If you can, you’re in the Stanford camp. Soldier on.

Do you find that your energy drains quickly when you’re focusing? If so, you’re in the Baumeister camp. Grab an orange.

The Future of Willpower


It has only been three years since Caltech scientists pinpointed the parts of the brain that regulate willpower—the ventral medial prefrontal cortex and the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex.

“After centuries of debate in social sciences, we are finally making big strides in understanding self-control from watching the brain resist temptation directly," researcher Colin Camerer said on discovery. Camerer hopes his research will lead to better theories on how self-control develops and how it works for various types of temptations.

Until science makes a willpower pill, find hacks that help you will your way past the donut.

How will you strengthen your self-control?

Picture Credit: www.Livestrong.com - My personal training clients have used a lot of these strategies to lose weight. Do you have the self-control to stay away from a cupcake when you need to?

Article Credit:
Author: Michael Moody Fitness with excerpt sourced from the article "4 Science-Backed Hacks to Strengthen Your Self-Control" on Livestrong.com
"4 Science-Backed Hacks to Strengthen Your Self-Control" Review
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