Watch reality TV, increase your willpower (really)

Watching reality television shows can actually increase your willpower, whether that’s a Survivor immunity challenge, contestants eating something gross on Fear Factor, or people sorting through their crap on Hoarders.

Stanford health psychologist Kelly McGonigal, author of The Willpower Instinct: How Self-Control Works, Why It Matters, and What You Can Do To Get More of It, says that reality TV is one of five “strategic indulgences” that can act as “willpower boosts whenever you’re feeling overwhelmed.”

That’s because, she writes in a Psychology Today article, that “willpower can be contagious” and some “reality shows feature people working hard to overcome obstacles—whether it’s losing weight, facing their fears, or even just organizing their clutter.” That “inspiration can help you find your own strength,” although she warns that “You can also catch temptation” so avoid shows that feature “spectacular lapses of judgment and self-control.”

Uh oh. Lapses of judgement and self-control? What reality series doesn’t have those?


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