Practical, 3-Step Approach For Breaking Any Habit & “Unwinding Anxiety” | Dr. Jud Brewer

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AN INTRODUCTION TO DR. JUD BREWER:

Dr. Jud is an internationally renowned addiction psychiatrist and neuroscientist. His TED Talk ”A Simple Way to Break a Bad Habit” has over 16 million views on YouTube. 

He’s also an associate professor at Brown University and executive medical director at Sharecare. 

Dr. Jud’s new book Unwinding Anxiety: New Science Shows How to Break the Cycles of Worry and Fear to Heal Your Mind is now a New York Times best seller. 

In the episode, he shares a 3-step approach for breaking any habit, why willpower doesn’t work, common misconceptions about what it takes to make or break a habit…and more!


QUESTIONS I ASK DR. JUD IN THE EPISODE:

  • What’s your story? (Specifically, what led you to become an addiction psychiatrist and neuroscientist?)
  • What’s a habit?
  • What does “reward-based learning” mean?
  • What’s a habit loop?
  • How is anxiety a habit?
  • You suggest a sort of 3-prong approach for breaking bad habits: identifying habit loops, focusing on the current reward value of these behaviors, and then replacing these habits with more rewarding ones based on curiosity and learning. Can you explain each of those steps in more detail?
  • So walk us through how you’d break a habit like emotional eating using your approach… And how could you break a habit like anxiety?
  • The word “mindfulness” is thrown around a lot these days. What does it mean to be “mindful”—and how can we get better at this in our tech-saturated, busy lives?
  • I first learned about the idea of willpower not working from Benjamin Hardy in his Medium article. I know you speak about this, as well. Why shouldn’t we rely on willpower?
  • Can you address the role of *feelings* (versus just thoughts) when it comes to breaking bad habits?

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