Increase Willpower and Self Control!
Want to increase your willpower and self control? Learn to meditate at least 30 minutes a day. I do practice what I preach! I meditate regularly, but I must confess it wasn’t always easy in the beginning. Like most people, I found it difficult to sit alone in a quiet room for about 30-60 minutes grappling with my thoughts and emotions. But I persisted with the help of a mentor until it became easier and easier. Now, I can go into the Alpha state within 10 minutes and I'm able to sit for 45 minutes in silence where I can find peace and inspiration. The word inspiration means living “in-spirit.” How often we get to do that in our hectic lives? On the other hand, the word information means living “in-form” which is what we all seem to be doing 24/7/365!
To achieve lasting happiness, you need to practice living “in-spirit” for at least 30-60 minutes a day. But be sure not to confuse happiness for pleasure. While happiness comes from within, pleasure comes from without. I know meditation can be hard, but everyone can do it with practice and the help of a mentor or a companion. Just find someone who shares your philosophy to sit with you until you gain the discipline to do it on your own. The results will astonish you!
Here are some helpful thoughts to put you on the path to more willpower and self-control:
WILLPOWER TIP: MEDITATE! (IT'S AN ANAEROBIC WORKOUT FOR SELF-CONTROL)
“Religious meditations often involve explicit and effortful regulation of attention. The beginner’s exercise in Zen meditation is to count one’s breaths up to ten and then do it again, over and over. The mind wanders quite naturally, so bringing it back to focus narrowly on one’s breathing builds mental discipline. So does saying the rosary, chanting Hebrew psalms, repeating Hindu mantras. When neuroscientists observe people praying or meditating, they see strong activity in two parts of the brain that are also important for self-regulation and control of attention. Psychologists see an effect when they expose people to religious words subliminally, meaning that the words are flashed on a screen so quickly that the people aren’t consciously aware of what they’ve seen. People who are subliminally exposed to religious words like God or Bible become slower to recognize words associated with temptations like drugs or premarital sex. “It looks as if people come to associate religion with tamping down these temptations,” says McCullough, who suggests that prayers and meditation rituals are “a kind of anaerobic workout for self-control.””
~ Roy Baumeister & John Tierney from Willpower
I just love that image of prayers/meditation as “anaerobic workouts for self-control.”
Just like we go to the gym to build our muscles, we sit in silence meditating to build our mental muscles.
It doesn’t matter whether we’re counting our breaths from one to ten or saying the rosary, chanting Hebrew psalms or repeating Hindu mantras.
They ALL build our mental discipline.
And, as we know by this point, having the ability to put our attention where we want, when we want is a VERY good thing.
Plus, we also get the benefits of eliciting what Herbert Benson calls “The Relaxation Response” (see Notes).
Here’s a little more McGonigal wisdom from The Willpower Instinct: “One study found that just three hours of meditation practice led to improved attention and self-control. After eleven hours, researchers could see those changes in the brain. The new meditators had increased neural connections between regions of the brain important for staying focused, ignoring distractions, and controlling impulses. Another study found that eight weeks of daily meditation practice led to increased self-awareness in everyday life, as well as increased gray matter in corresponding areas of the brain. It may seem incredible that our brains can reshape themselves so quickly, but meditation increases blood flow to the prefrontal cortex, in much the same way that lifting weights increases blood flow to your muscles. The brain appears to adapt to exercise in the same way that muscles do, getting both bigger and faster in order to get better at what you ask of it.”
You can manifest anything you want with awareness, discernment and imagination. Go for it!