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Mastering Your Mind

Emotion-Regulation Strategies That Work and One That You Should Never Use

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IMAGINE YOURSELF AS a five-year-old. You’re sitting in a small room with nothing but a piece of your favorite candy right in front of your nose. A friendly adult tells you that you can eat the candy right now, or you can wait 10 minutes and get two pieces of candy instead of just one. And then the adult leaves you alone.

You may recognize this “cruel” little experiment as the “marshmallow test” by Stanford University psychologist Walter Mischel, originally conducted in the 1960s and 1970s with preschoolers between three and five years old. The experiment aimed to measure the children’s impulse control and ability to delay gratification. ...

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