Yeager on Growth Mindset, Stress & Brief Interventions

What Is Growth Mindset?

Yeager, a leading researcher on mindsets, joins Huberman to discuss the powerful concepts of growth mindset and stress-is-performance-enhancing mindset. These mindsets enable individuals to improve their abilities and reframe stress, leading to dramatic performance improvements in various aspects of life.

Yeager, also the author of an upcoming book, “10 to 25: The Science of Motivating Young People,” delves into the research behind growth mindset and provides practical advice on how to apply it in our lives. He shares insights on creating optimal learning environments for individuals, as well as in classrooms, families, sports teams, and groups of all kinds.

While many may have heard of growth mindset, this discussion offers a comprehensive understanding of the concept and its applications, benefiting not only learners but also teachers and coaches. By combining growth mindset with the stress-is-performance-enhancing mindset, individuals can unlock their full potential and achieve maximum results in their cognitive and physical endeavors.

The Science Behind Growth Mindset

Yeager and Walton use “wise interventions” to promote growth mindset in students. These interventions involve presenting scientific information, sharing stories from relatable individuals who have used the ideas successfully, and asking participants to author their own stories about overcoming struggles.

The science behind growth mindset draws on the metaphor that the brain is like a muscle, getting stronger when challenged and given the opportunity to recover. Stories are a powerful tool for teaching lay theories, or intuitive explanations for how the world works. By providing students with a simple narrative of facing difficulty, taking steps to improve, and ultimately succeeding, interventions can help them develop a growth mindset.

Huberman notes that reappraising stress and anxiety is crucial for improvement, drawing parallels to physical exercise. While the brain-muscle analogy has limitations, the burning sensation in muscles during exercise signals adaptation, similar to the mental friction experienced when learning new skills.

The Power of Brief Mindset Interventions

Yeager discusses the effectiveness of brief 25-minute interventions that can have long-lasting effects on individuals. For these interventions to be successful, they must convince the participant to think differently by the end of the session and be memorable enough to apply months or even years later.

Yeager notes that people are often skeptical of these mindset-style interventions for two reasons. First, it can be challenging to persuade someone to change their thinking in just 25 minutes. Second, it’s difficult for individuals to remember and apply the lessons learned from such a short experience over an extended period.

To overcome these challenges, Yeager emphasizes the importance of communicating in a way that keeps the participant’s ears open and avoids making them feel talked down to, ashamed, or humiliated. Additionally, the timing of the intervention is crucial, as it should be delivered when there is potential for a “recursive process” or “snowball effect” to occur over time.

Title: Reframing Stress as Growth

Huberman and Yeager discuss the relationship between mental work, learning, and the stress response. They emphasize the importance of reappraising the effort belief, which is the idea that if something is hard, it means you’re doing the wrong thing.

Yeager points out that simply telling someone their brain is a muscle is not enough to help them embrace stress and frustration. When faced with challenges, people often experience physiological stress responses such as racing heart, sweaty palms, and heavy breathing.

In recent years, researchers have been working on combining the growth mindset idea with the concept of appraisal to help individuals better interpret and manage their stress responses when taking on challenges. This new frontier of growth mindset work aims to support people in developing skills and maintaining mental well-being while embracing challenges.

The Power of Foundational Nutrition for Mental and Physical Health

Yeager and Huberman discuss the benefits of taking AG1, a supplement that provides vitamins, minerals, adaptogens, and micronutrients. Huberman has been taking AG1 once or twice a day since 2012 to ensure he gets the nutrients he might not be getting from whole foods, especially when traveling or busy.

AG1 supports gut health, which in turn supports immune system health and brain health. It also supports various cellular and organ processes that interact with one another. Unlike supplements directed towards specific outcomes, AG1 provides foundational nutritional support designed to support all systems of the brain and body related to mental and physical health.

Consistent Meditation with Waking Up App

Huberman discusses the benefits of using the Waking Up meditation app, which offers hundreds of guided meditations, mindfulness trainings, yoga Nidra sessions, and more.

He shares his personal experience with meditation, noting that while he has been practicing for over three decades, his consistency can waver during stressful times when meditation is most needed. The Waking Up app makes it easy to find and stick to a meditation practice, even if you only have a few minutes to spare.

In addition to meditations, Huberman highlights the usefulness of yoga Nidra sessions, a form of non-sleep deep rest that he finds extremely valuable for restoring mental and physical vigor. He personally practices yoga Nidra for 10-20 minutes at least once a day and finds it helpful for falling back asleep when waking up in the middle of the night.

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