I read an interesting article recently about the famous Walter Mischel, the quirky 84 year old psychologist behind the famous “Marshmallow Test.” Not familiar? It’s that test where they take a bunch of kids, sit them in front of a stale marshmallow and tell them that if they wait 15 minutes without eating it, they will get 2 cookies. If they decide to eat the marshmallow, they will only receive 1 cookie. Mr. Mischel continued to follow the habits of his patients throughout their lives, and deduced that those who appeared to have higher self-control from a young age were generally more successful, slimmer, and more susceptible to healthy habits and less susceptible to habits like drug and alcohol abuse.
My first thought was, well, at 5, I probably would have eaten that marshmallow, because I couldn’t really comprehend the long term benefits of not doing so. I imagine that then immediate gratification would seem much more appealing. Now, on the other hand, I would like to think I could wait. Can we train ourselves, and even our children, to exert this kind of self-control? Mischel thinks we can. He claims that by using methods of distraction, we can buy a few extra seconds of “thinking” time, and stop ourselves from acting impulsively.
This can apply to all areas of life- whether someone’s ticked you off and you'd like to tear them a new one, or you’re starving and the bread basket is the only thing sitting in front of you. Here are 5 “distraction methods” you can use on a daily basis, to train your brain to slow down and reflect rather than reacting impulsively, and so build healthy habits for better life - for successful life lead with peace of mind:
1. Count backwards from Ten.
2. Turn the object in question into something undesirable.
4. Reverse or de-personalize the situation.
Play with those methods regularly, making them part of your daily "way-to-success" routine. Those little mind tricks can help you lead a marvellously stress free life, life of mental wellness and healthy habits!
Comments will be approved before showing up.