Squeeze A Hand-Grip to Improve Your Life: the importance of routine and mindset
Before we talked about how to find our life purpose. Now we’re going to talk about how to find self-control. So...what do I mean?
One of the four fundamental fears is the fear of losing control. Control is something we crave and need in our lives to feel stable and sane. If we are pushed into environments that relinquish our feeling of control, we begin to feel frightened and act out with righteous chaos. When we see others of whom we respect act out in defiance and we follow suit, we create the fallacy of deriving morality from our own conformity. What we should strive for is control over ourselves. High levels of self-control in childhood have been shown to directly predict levels of love and work satisfaction into adulthood (Allemand, et. al.). Now, what if I told you that you could gain this happiness and work satisfaction by simply squeezing a hand-grip twice a day for only 2 weeks? Research has shown that this can increase our levels of self-control (Finkel & DeWall) and consequently improve our lives in many life domains. Just find a random stress ball you have laying around and simply get yourself to consistently squeeze it twice a day every day, for two weeks. Easy enough.
Importance of self-control
Allemand, et. al.’s 23 year-long study has shown that those with higher levels of self-control in adolescence have greater levels of love and work satisfaction into adulthood. Those without self-control were more likely to have poor health and abuse substances. Low self-control levels can be caused by a chaotic environment that the children might have grown up in. Therefore, it is vital that we make sure our children grow up with a solid foundation of skills giving them higher levels of self-control. These skills translate into school with grades and attendance as well and If we do not gain a sound education, these individuals only stray farther from success. To summarize:
Scholars find that “these findings suggest that individual differences in self-control emerging in childhood may persist into adulthood and therefore result in consequences across different life domains” (Allemand, et. al.).
Self-control “enables people to inhibit destructive responses (engage in accommodation) to a partner’s potential destructive behavior” (Allemand, et. al.). Conversely, low self-control predicted the increase in domestic violence and sexual impulsive behavior.
Back to the hand-grip
Squeezing the hand-grip twice a day for the first 2 weeks of the semester improved student’s academic grades 7 months later (Yeager, et. al., 2011). Why? Because this exercise set “into motion recursive social, psychological, and intellectual processes” (Yeager & Walton, 2011, p. 286) that led students to have higher levels of self-control. The scholars state that this activity might have instilled a routine of starting their day with study materials which increased academic scores. Also, this might be raising their blood pressure and reducing pain sensitivity which contributes to an increased level of energy. These are the effects of consistency and a routine. A routine is a powerful tool if you can allow your routine to change and adapt to your current needs.
Importance of Mindset
Our malleable minds can be tuned to have a more positive direction, but only if we allow that to happen. Our mindsets are susceptible to even subtle messages they hear from adults as children (Yeager, 2012). Surprisingly, if these messages are those of comfort during tough times in our academic careers, this can lead us to undermine our resilience. Research has already shown that “psychological interventions that change students’ mindsets are effective” (Yeager, 2012), so how might we change our mindset to improve our direction in life? Process praise. This is what one study found when putting children into 3 trial sets of problems to solve with the intervals between trials being met with either intelligence praise or process praise:
"Students who received process praise, by contrast, did significantly better on the third trial than they had done on the first trial, and they asked to do more challenging problems in the future—they adopted the incremental theory."
- Mueller and Dweck’s (1998)
Incremental theory: “an individual's implicit theory of intelligence refers to his or her fundamental underlying beliefs regarding whether or not intelligence or abilities can change, developed by Carol Dweck and colleagues.” (Wikipedia “Implicit Theories of Intelligence”)
So, what have we learned? If we have the right mindset and the right routine, we can train our minds to do great things. We can learn self-control and accommodate our partners and academics to further improve our lives in many aspects. I challenge you to first start the routine of continuing to think differently.
- Allemand, M., Job, V., & Mroczek, D. (2018). Self-Control Development in Adolescence Predicts Love and Work in Adulthood. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 2018.
- Job, V., Friese, M., Bernecker, K., & Prentice, Deborah A. (2015). Effects of Practicing Self-Control on Academic Performance. Motivation Science, 1(4), 219-232.
- Yeager, David S., & Walton, Gregory M. (2011). Social-Psychological Interventions in Education: They're Not Magic. Review of Educational Research, 81(2), 267-301.W
- Yeager, D. (2012). Mindsets That Promote Resilience : When Students Believe That Personal Characteristics Can Be Developed. Educational Psychologist., 47(4), 302-314.