Repost: "Leave the Radishes, Take the Cookies!"

This is from a fascinating little essay that was in the NY Times a while ago that totally relates to Full Permission Living. Sandra Aamodt, the editor in chief of Nature Neuroscience, and Sam Wang, an associate professor of molecular biology and neuroscience at Princeton, are the authors of “Welcome to Your Brain: Why You Lose Your Car Keys but Never Forget How to Drive and Other Puzzles of Everyday Life.”
Their piece in the Times is about how little tolerance the human organism has for asceticism (defined by my dictionary as: "the practice of severe self-discipline and abstention from all forms of indulgence.") I have frequently said that the soul of a human being hates being told "No!" for arbitrary reasons of self-judgment.
Well, here's two scientists demonstrating that harsh self-discipline, especially the kind that inhibits feelings, leads to excessive acting out in other ways.

Here are some excerpts:

"With a relatively long recession looking increasingly likely, many American families may be planning to tighten their belts. Interestingly, restraining our consumer spending, in the short term, may cause us to actually loosen the belts around our waists.
"The brain has a limited capacity for self-regulation, so exerting willpower in one area often leads to backsliding in others. The brain’s store of willpower is depleted when people control their thoughts, feelings or impulses, or when they modify their behavior in pursuit of goals.
"In one pioneering study, some people were asked to eat radishes while others received freshly baked chocolate chip cookies before trying to solve an impossible puzzle. The radish-eaters abandoned the puzzle in eight minutes on average, working less than half as long as people who got cookies or those who were excused from eating radishes.
"Other activities that deplete willpower include resisting food or drink, suppressing emotional responses, restraining aggressive or sexual impulses, taking exams and trying to impress someone."

Thanks, Sandra and Sam! I think I'll have an espresso and a chocolate biscotti now before I start my morning's work.


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