Self-affirmation can open up your brain to health advice

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Self-affirmation can open up your brain to health advice
Self-affirmation can open up your brain to health advice

Researchers have discovered an intervention which can make your brain more receptive to health advice. The University of Pennsylvania Annenberg School for Communication reported, a simple intervention can make your brain more receptive to health advice. It has been shown by a new discovery that a simple intervention of self-affirmation can help to open up our brains to accept health advice.

Emily Falk, the study’s lead author and director of the Communication Neuroscience Laboratory at University of Pennsylvania’s Annenberg School for Communication, has said that self-affirmation deals with reflecting on core values. Although good health advice such as to eat better and exercise more comes from good intentions many people feel defensive when given such suggestions. They seem to feel such suggestions highlights their weaknesses.

If people reflect upon values which bring us meaning this can help people see otherwise threatening messages as actually being valuable and self-relevant. Falk says when people are affirmed it has been observed that their brains process subsequent messages in different ways. She said that her team was particularly interested in using self-affirmation to assist people in becoming more active because sedentary behavior has become one of the biggest health threats being confronted by people in this era. Being too sedentary can lead to multiple health problems which includes poor heart health, diabetes, and cancer.

This study has been reported in the journal PNAS. Researchers have found self-affirmation changes the brain’s response to health messages and leads to subsequent behavior change. Self-affirmation is a psychological technique which is effective in increasing a person’s receptivity to interventions such as the promotion of health behaviors. With self-affirmation people may see the self-relevance and value which is attached to messages which have otherwise been perceived of as threatening. Self-affirmation may therefore help people live healthier and longer lives.

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