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Designing Positive PsychologyTaking Stock and Moving Forward$
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Kennon M. Sheldon, Todd B. Kashdan, and Michael F. Steger

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780195373585

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195373585.001.0001

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Positive Psychophysiology

Positive Psychophysiology

The Body and Self-Regulation

(p.25) 3 Positive Psychophysiology
Designing Positive Psychology

Suzanne C. Segerstrom

Timothy W. Smith

Tory A. Eisenlohr-Moul

Oxford University Press

Self-regulation refers to control over one's emotions, thoughts, and behaviors. Failure of self-regulation contributes to many important individual and societal problems, including problems with eating, spending, interpersonal violence, sexual promiscuity, and alcohol and drug use. Evidence points to a general pool of self-regulatory capacity. This chapter suggests that this capacity depends on, is reflected in, and affects physiology. That is, self-regulation is literally embodied. This assertion seems obvious with regard to the central nervous system, but less so with regard to peripheral physiology. Nonetheless, there is evidence that peripheral regulation of physiological parameters such as blood glucose and heart rate is intertwined with central regulation of the self. The chapter presents a brief overview of physiological systems involved in self-regulation, reviews the empirical links between self-regulation and physiology in several domains, and then suggests directions for future research.

Keywords:   self-regulation, physiology, self-regulatory capacity, blood glucose, heart rate

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