Overcoming Addiction with Curiosity feat. Judson Brewer

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Whether it's smoking cigarettes or mindlessly buying things on Amazon, breaking bad habits can be incredibly difficult.

Judson Brewer, MD, Ph.D. or “Dr. Jud” is a New York Times best-selling author and thought leader in the field of habit change and the “science of self-mastery,” who blends over 20 years of experience with mindfulness training and a career in scientific research. He is passionate about understanding how our brains work, and how to use that knowledge to help people make deep, permanent change in their lives — with the goal of reducing suffering in the world at large.

He is also the director of research and innovation at Brown University’s Mindfulness Center, where he also serves as an associate professor in Behavioral and Social Sciences at the School of Public Health and Psychiatry at the School of Medicine at Brown University.

Judson’s published works include “The Craving Mind: From Cigarettes to Smartphones to Love, Why We Get Hooked and How We Can Break Bad Habits” and the best-seller, “Unwinding Anxiety: New Science Shows How to Break the Cycles of Worry and Fear to Heal Your Mind.”

Judson is both an academic and an entrepreneur. And in this episode we dive into his many projects including his app based behavior change programs, how our brains reward system works, interest, curiosity and prioritizing all of the addictions available to us in modern society.

Episode Quotes:

On addiction & quitting

The process is the same, whether it's food or social media, the process is the same. If we can see and really see what we're getting from it, then we can learn to consume in moderation without forcing ourselves to like lock our phones in our trunk when we're driving. Or go through these really extreme behavioral ways to kind of force ourselves not to do things. We don't have to do that. It really comes back to like how can we just leverage the power of our minds, which is super powerful.

Body vs. brain

So think of it this way. Our feeling body is much stronger than our thinking brain. So we can think something's bad for me, but that's not gonna help.

Interest curiosity

That craving, we can go, oh no, I have to have a cigarette. Or we can flip that with interest curiosity and go, oh, what does this craving feel like right now in my body? And so here we go to the source, like, what is it that's driving me to do this?

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