April 1, 2015

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Do you NEED a study break or do you just THINK you do?

“The body achieves what the mind believes” ~Jim Evans

Research from a group of Stanford University psychologists led by Dr. Veronika Jobs supports the idea that you only “need” a study break because you have been conditioned to believe you do. With willpower widely regarded to be a limited resource, you have been encouraged to take study breaks to recharge and support your ability to learn and concentrate. Yet, Dr. Job’s research revealed that students convinced that their willpower – ability to control oneself and suppress impulses – was unlimited, studied longer and more effectively than students who were convinced that it was limited. In addition, students who were convinced that their willpower was limited tended to take more study breaks, consume 24% more junk food, and procrastinate 35% more than the other students in the study.

While human physiological limitations are legitimate – we all need proper nutrition, exercise, and rest to function at our best – we cannot dismiss the incredible impact that our mindsets have on our success. If you think you can or you can’t, you are likely right!

It appears that willpower isn’t driven as much by a biologically based process as it is by our own expectations. So with less than half of the spring semester remaining, you may consider re-addressing your beliefs about willpower to get the most from your study sessions. When you begin to feel tired or fatigued, consider it a time to dig into your willpower reserves, not a bag of Oreos or string of text messages!

Study well/Live well/Be well

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