Kelly McGonigal On The Science Of WillPower

Dr. Kelly McGonigal  is a health scientist at Stanford University and author. Her book is called, “The WillPower Instinct: How Self-Control Works, Why It Matters, and What You Can Do to Get More of It.

I recently listened to an interview she did with Dr. Rick Hanson. The interview took place online in collaboration with Sounds True recordings in a series called The Compassionate Brain.

Six other seminal researchers on the compassionate brain were also interviewed. These included Dr. Richie Davidson, Dr. Daniel Siegel, Dr. Tara Brach, Dr. Dacher Keltner, Dr. Kristin Neff and Dr. Jean Houston. You can watch the replays for free and even get CEU credits if you need them. All you have to do is register here.

I have listened to all of the recordings except the last one. There are insights in these interviews which can really help you feel compassion for yourself and others.

I’m sure you will get a lot out of this video, the interviews on The Compassionate Brain, and the following related books.

Please share your insights and realizations.

Note: This video first appeared on Best Meditation Videos on November 22, 2012. You may be seeing it again for the first time! Enjoy.


The Willpower Instinct: How Self-Control Works, Why It Matters, and What You Can Do To Get More of It This is Kelly’s book on the WillPower Instinct. If you listened to the Google talk in the video on this page, you can get even more out of reading her book.
The Emotional Life of Your Brain: How Its Unique Patterns Affect the Way You Think, Feel, and Live--and How You Can Change Them I recently finished The Emotional Life of Your Brain and found it to have life-changing insights about emotional style. It is a wonder to me with all the scientific validation of mediation that more people have not begun meditating. You can help me spread the word!
Buddha's Brain: The Practical Neuroscience of Happiness, Love, and Wisdom This is Dr. Hanson’s book on Buddha’s Brain. My friends have reported that it is excellent.
The Brain That Changes Itself: Stories of Personal Triumph from the Frontiers of Brain Science Another of my friends recommends this book on how the brain changes itself. I am sure it is a great read.
This Is Your Brain on Music: The Science of a Human Obsession This book and the following one were recommended by my dharma brother, Paul Tingen.
The World Is Sound: Nada Brahma: Music and the Landscape of Consciousness
The above two books relate to using sound to generate beta, delta and theta waves in the brain. I have found this to be very wonderful and relaxing. I have added sound meditation to my daily practices and you can learn more by clicking on the links, sound, music and guided meditation.

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