The Science of Willpower

Secrets for self-control without suffering

How Mindfulness Makes the Brain Immune to Temptation

Paying mindful attention to the trigger of the craving can interrupt the temptation—and protect people from their habits and desires. Read More


How would this work with alcohol? Scotch in a glass, smell it, swirl it, look at it?
Do that in a bar?

Excellent article. Thanks. As

Excellent article. Thanks. As an addict, I appreciate the info.

Invitation to Participate in research on Smoking and Mindfulness

Are you a social drinker? Or do you smoke? Come and take part in our study!

If you decide to participate, you will be asked to complete an anonymous online survey, which will take about 30 minutes. The survey will include questions about your alcohol or cigarette use, and your state of mind and response to craving. Your responses will be entirely confidential.

Once you complete the survey you can register for a chance to win a $50 book voucher every month up to the end of this study (October 2013).

Go to to register or get more information. Your participation will be very useful and greatly appreciated.

This study is being conducted by Sarah Masters (email:, Ph: 0404 323 470) of the Centre for Emotional Health, Macquarie University Department of Psychology under the supervision of A/Prof Andrew Baillie (email:, Ph: 02 9850 9436) of the Macquarie University Department of Psychology, and Dr Bruno Cayoun of the University of Tasmania Department of Psychology.

surfing the urge

This intervention is Buddhism 99, without calling it such- not quite 101. There are so many assumptions within the imagery/hypnosis/suggestions that this technique is no more applicable to all addicts as AA is no more than 30% successful (pure abstinence model). All addictions are mood disorders. The further we get away from the original intolerable, unmanageable feeling, the more entrenched the behavior. Ed Tolman wrote in 46'that all behavior is problem solving behavior. Watching the waves of the mind is an intervention that is over 2500 and possibly 31,000 years old. The goal within Buddhism is to find the true nature of mind; the goal of the intervention here is develop affect regulation or tolerance (where AA doesn't differentiate; if they did their success rate would be higher).It is important to know whether the person suffers from an attachment disorder (where original affect regulation occurs with the caregiver), or a problem within relationship, a problem further along the developmental cycle. The benefits of this intervention could simply be the deliverance of the script in a "loving-mother's voice." Otherwise, I would rather call this an introduction to the introduction of meditation, at least then the spiritual component would be present allowing the person to perhaps bypass the narcissist defenses within addictive behavior, answering/connecting to a beneficent entity (attachment figure).
The assumptions that one can sit still long enough to develop the imagery without distraction implies some degree of healthy functioning...

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Kelly McGonigal, Ph.D., is a health psychologist at Stanford University.


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