What is ‘self-nudging’? The simple trick to make healthier choices

What is ‘self-nudging’? The simple trick to make healthier choices

via Yahoo News by Jen Laskey

We’ve all heard advice like keep a fruit bowl on the counter, so it’s easier to grab one of those apples or oranges instead of going for the box of cookies that’s stashed in the pantry — or to brush your teeth directly after a meal to make the temptation of sweets less appealing. These are examples of a behavioral science technique known as self-nudging.

“Self-nudging is a way to help you overcome temptation and lack of willpower,” Tara Swart, a psychiatrist, neuroscientist, senior lecturer at MIT and author of “The Source: The Secrets of the Universe, the Science of the Brain,” told TODAY in an email. “Whether it’s food, drinks or other bad habits, you can make it harder for yourself to succumb.”

The technique relies less on the conscious exercise of willpower and more on anticipating where challenges of self-control may arise — and planning for them, explained Samuli Reijula, a theoretical philosophy professor at the University of Helsinki, in an email to TODAY.

Reijula co-authored a behavioral science theory paper about self-nudging with Ralph Hertwig, director of the Center for Adaptive Rationality at the Max Planck Institute for Human Development in Berlin, that was published in the March 2020 issue of Behavioural Public Policy. In the paper, the philosopher and the psychologist discussed how self-nudging techniques can help empower people to make healthier choices and, more generally, overcome what both of them see as limitations of nudge theory.

How can self-nudging help us make healthier choices?

“Every day we make hundreds of — often small — decisions about what to eat, drink, what information to consume, whether to exercise or not,” Reijula said. All of these decisions “make a big difference to our health and well-being.” But we’re not always up for making the best choices. That’s where self-nudging can turn things around for us.

Reijula explained that making strategic changes at home and work can help stave off the impulses and temptations that lead to unhealthy choices. For example, he said, “we all know what will happen if we end up staring at that chocolate bar on the kitchen table again and again.” But if you self-nudge and remove the chocolate from your sight, you remove the immediate temptation. “[It] seems like an obvious thing to do, but surprisingly few people actually go through with such simple changes.”

… keep reading the full & original article HERE

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