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THE WEIRS TIMES & THE COCHECO TIMES, Thursday, December 29, 2011

11 Your Health is in Your Hands

by Dr. Graham Moneysmith, DC. Contributing Writer

Happy Holidays! The

time has come for us to make, and in an orderly manner break, our freshly minted New Year resolu- tions. Does this happen to you? I know it has with me, too. In fact, it hap- pens to most of us. Psy- chologist Richard Wise- man in a 2009 issue of The Guardian stated that 78% of resolutions are failures. So basically, 8 out of 10 resolution mak- ers are going to bomb….. Happy New Year! In all seriousness, does it have to be this way? A resolu- tion has great value in the sense that it clearly states a goal that typically is for our betterment and thus a step toward being the per- son we want to become. This means it is actually a big deal. No one is going to help you become the person you want to be, but you. Now typically we as-

sociate resolution suc- cess with will power and will power with character, so completion/failure re- flects our character. What if this wasn’t completely true though? What if there is more to will power than we thought? Will power is housed in the prefrontal cortex of the brain. This is the area of the brain that is as- sociated with things like

short term memory ability and focus. According to a story found in the Wall Street Journal in 2009 that sums up some of the research surrounding will power, our issue may not be will power, but that we ask our prefrontal cortex to do too much. For ex- ample a study out of Stan- ford in which researchers gave subjects a 2 or 7 digit numbers to remem- ber. The subjects were required to remember the number and walk down a hall to discover cake and fruit salad on a table. Get this: the people who had to remember 7 digits were twice as likely to choose cake over fruit. Simply adding 5 extra digits made them twice as likely to make poor choices. There is also a study from the University of Michigan that states that spending time on a busy street is enough stimuli to reduce self control. Amazing, now imagine you have big goals and a resolution that requires self control (i.e. quit smoking, drink- ing, eating too much), but add in your life stress: work, family, cell phones, traffic, money, etc. Is it

any wonder that most of us struggle with keeping our resolutions? So what do we do about

this? The same Wall Street Journal article also referenced a study from Columbia University that found that people who de- lay gratification (aka have more self control) didn’t actually have more re- straint, but instead found distracters or other ways to control mental temp- tations. So the answer for us to find resolution success is threefold this year: 1) find something to take your focus away See MONEYSMITH on 12

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