June Walking Book Club – The Willpower Instinct by Kelly McGonigal

Willpower Instinct Walking Book Club for brain health

I’ve been a fan of Dr Kelly McGonigal ever since I saw her game-changing (for me) Ted Talk on stress.

(Confession: I alternate between wishing I could be Kelly or Kali Byron from Mythbusters).

In her book The Willpower Instinct: how self control works, why it matters and what you can do to get more of it, McGonigal explores the latest research on:

  • motivation
  • temptation
  • procrastination
  • what it takes to transform habits
  • how to persevere at challenges
  • how make a successful change.

In her own words,

“The book is one huge collection of evidence-based strategies for self-control, self-awareness, and self-compassion.”

Kelly McGonigal PhD, is a health psychologist and lecturer at Stanford University, and a leading expert on the mind-body relationship. She teaches for the School of Medicine’s Health Improvement Program and is a senior teacher/consultant for the Stanford Center for Compassion and Altruism Research and Education. Her work demonstrates the applications of psychological science to personal health and happiness, as well as organisational success and social change.

She’s been called a leader in the field of ‘science help’, and she works to help understand and implement the latest scientific findings in psychology, neuroscience and medicine (see why I’m sure we’re kindred spirits!).

McGonigal  is now researching a new book about the “upside of stress,” which will look at both why stress is good for us, and what makes us good at stress. In her words:

“The old understanding of stress as a unhelpful relic of our animal instincts is being replaced by the understanding that stress actually makes us socially smart — it’s what allows us to be fully human.”

Her Ted talk ‘How to make stress your friend’ has over 5.5 million views (trust me – and the other 5.5 million- its worth watching.)

What happens after I read The Willpower Instinct?

In about two weeks time I’ll send out my newsletter with questions for you and your friends to discuss while you walk (and I’ll also put the questions here on the blog).  If you haven’t already signed up for the Your Brain Health newsletter you can sign up here.

As always, the questions will be designed to spark discussion about broader issues raised in the book, not a page-by-page analysis of the evidence!!

If you need a reminder of the philosophy behind The Walking Book Club you can read more here….

Walking Book Club discussion starter…

If you’re in the process of reading this book you’ll be familiar with the idea of a ‘Willpower Challenge’.  What Willpower Challenge have you chosen, why, and how are you going?  And what is the ‘challenge within your challenge?’  Discuss!!

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