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Based on Stanford University psychologist Kelly McGonigal's wildly popular course "The Science of Willpower," The Willpower Instinct is the first book to explain the new science of self-control and how it can be harnessed to improve our health, happiness, and productivity. Informed by the latest research and combining cutting-edge insights from psychology, economics, neuroscience, and medicine, The Willpower Instinct explains exactly what willpower is, how it works, and why it matters. For example, readers will learn: Willpower is a mind-body response, not a virtue. It is a biological function that can be improved through mindfulness, exercise, nutrition, and sleep. Willpower is not an unlimited resource. Too much self-control can actually be bad for your health. Temptation and stress hijack the brain's systems of self-control, but the brain can be trained for greater willpower Guilt and shame over your setbacks lead to giving in again, but self-forgiveness and self-compassion boost self-control. Giving up control is sometimes the only way to gain self-control. Willpower failures are contagious—you can catch the desire to overspend or overeat from your friends—but you can also catch self-control from the right role models. In the groundbreaking tradition of Getting Things Done, The Willpower Instinct combines life-changing prescriptive advice and complementary exercises to help readers with goals ranging from losing weight to more patient parenting, less procrastination, better health, and greater productivity at work.