An acknowledged leader in the “science-help” movement, Kelly McGonigal has dedicated her career to using neuroscience and psychology to develop methods of improving mental well-being. And she is now at the forefront of researchers and advocates who continue to explore the connection between mind and body. On this episode of Impact Theory with Tom Bilyeu, Dr. Kelly McGonigal explains how to change your emotional states through physical movement, and also explains why movement has such a strong effect on the brain. She also describes ways to become more compassionate, shares the story of her own struggles with chronic pain, and gives surprising insights into why it’s not always good to try to control your inner experiences.
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“This is the book I was born to write.” [3:30]
Movement and exercise are essential to mental well-being [4:15]
Kelly explains the hypothesis that we have large brains for physical movement [5:50]
Tom and Kelly discuss runner’s high and why he doesn’t get it [7:12]
Working out your core reduces anxiety [11:03]
Kelly explains how your brain receives information from your muscles and tendons [11:51]
Kelly and Tom discuss how physical improvement changes your self-image [13:15]
Kelly talks about why it’s not always good to try to control your inner experiences [17:53]
Kelly describes her experience with chronic pain [21:05]
Kelly has a strong gut instinct for whether or not things are consistent with her values [24:00]
How do you teach someone to be compassionate and self-compassionate? [27:56]
How to be a better listener [31:41]
Kelly explains how she teaches self-compassion [34:52]
Tom’s crucial insight that even the average human is the ultimate adaptation machine [38:05]
Tom and Kelly discuss competition and cooperation [40:48]
Kelly describes overcoming the need to be better than others [42:33]
Kelly shares the impact she wants to have on the world [44:29]
“Your literal moment to moment sense of self is always being informed by what your body is doing.” [11:36]
“You can choose your values over trying to control your inner experiences.” [23:49]
“So you’re lifting something heavy. Your brain is going to get feedback from muscle contraction and tension from the tendons on your joints. Your brain does not get that information and think, ‘my bicep is strong.’ Or, ‘my lats are strong.’ The brain thinks, ‘I am strong.’” [12:02]