Wednesday, October 22, 2014
Back in the 1960s, Dr. Walter Mischel conducted a series of experiments that have since become fundamental to our understanding of developmental psychology and the implications of self-control. The results of Mischel’s famous “Stanford Marshmallow Test” have provided insight into the link between delayed gratification (i.e. self-control) and “success” later in life. In the experiments, a treat (often a marshmallow or cookie) was given to a child on the condition that if they could wait 15 minutes to eat it, they would be given two treats. The tempting treats were placed on a plate in front of the children and the experimenters left the room. The children were left alone in the room, with no distractions or advice from outsiders. As you might guess, the majority of children ate the marshmallow before the 15 minutes were up.
Fast forward. Researchers followed up with the children who are now teenagers. They found the same participants who exhibited greater self-control when they were children (those who waited long enough to receive the second marshmallow) were now more “successful” as teenagers, as defined by several metrics. The kids who chose delayed gratification in the marshmallow test overall, had higher SAT scores and were described by their parents as being more competent. Again, researchers followed up with same participants who were now adults, in their 40s and found that those with more willpower as children, now displayed the same increased amount of self-control as adults. Additionally, when presented with alluring temptations, adults with more self-control showed increased activity in the prefrontal cortex region of the brain (the region of the brain that controls decision making), than those with lower self-control. Those with less self-control exhibited more activity in the ventral striatum region of the brain, which is a region of the brain thought to be associated with desires and rewards.
A lesson in self-control/delayed gratification taught to us by children, but the implications reach much further than that. As adults, we are faced with our own version of the marshmallow experiment all day, every day. Our devices beg us to stop what we’re doing and devote our attention to them instead. How often do we complete a task without checking our phone, Facebook, or email at least once? Our devices are a new form of the ever so tempting marshmallow.
Further, while some things change, some remain the same. As adults, not only are we tempted by our electronic devices and constant, “always on” information feeds, we are still faced with the similar temptations as the children in Mischel’s experiment. Unhealthy foods are more available and abundant than ever. Fighting the urge to give in to temptation is a daily battle we face at almost every corner of our environment, including the grocery store, our work environments, and social settings. And, the more we are exposed to these enticing temptations, the more likely we are to give in to them. Although it differs from person to person, willpower does have its limits.
However, where there is a will, there is a way, as they say. If we can harness our inner discipline and coach ourselves to wait for the delayed, but equally as good, reward…then we are more likely to accomplish our goals. Here’s a few thoughts on what we can do:
Wednesday, October 15, 2014
Spinach and Kale
We couldn’t decide which one to choose because they are both so comparably amazing! These two are probably two of the biggest super food all-stars in the whole series!
Nutritionally, they are both rock stars. Taste wise, they differ greatly. Kale has a more distinctive taste that some people find bitter. The texture is also thicker and tougher than spinach. The denser texture is perfect for baking kale chips or making salads ahead of time. Kale salad won’t get soggy like most other greens when you add dressing.
With a more subtle taste and a softer crunch, spinach is often the choice for fresh salads, steaming, and dressing sandwiches. Spinach is a tried and true health food that has stood the test of time. Kale is newer to the scene, but we think it’s here to stay. Now, on to the facts.
*RDA= Recommended Daily Allowance
Army Health @ArmyHealth October 24
Army Health @ArmyHealth October 23
Army Health @ArmyHealth October 22