Dr. Jud Brewer

“Behavior change isn't based on the behavior; it's based on the results or the reward of the behavior.” – Dr. Jud Brewer

Can we break bad habits by being more curious about them?

Wellness Force Radio Episode 319

Neuroscientist, Director of Research and Innovation at the Mindfulness Center at Brown University, Co-Founder of MindSciences, and Author of The Craving Mind, Dr. Jud Brewer, explains the trigger-reward loop model, why curiosity leads us to greater ‘being,' and his app-based programs for eating, anxiety, and smoking.

Discover how being more mindful will help you let go of bad habits and create healthy, sustainable change in 2020.



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'Behavior change isn't based on the behavior; it's based on the results or the reward of the behavior.' - @judbrewer Click To Tweet

Judson Brewer: A simple way to break a bad habit | TED Talk

Listen To Episode 319 As Dr. Jud Brewer Uncovers:

[1:30] Addiction And The Caveman Brain

[19:40] Our Never Ending Search For Peace

  • His current lab's study around why we are always on the lookout for the feeling of ‘peace.'
  • How our internal hierarchy of rewards will impact behavior now and in the future.
  • Different mental states that the brain naturally categorizes as more rewarding than others and what other qualities they hold.
  • Digging deep into the differences between opposite mental states like fear, joy, and peace. (21:00)
  • How we approach the mental state of craving and whether it's an open or closed state.
  • Vipassana Meditation – A Spartan Race For The Mind
  • Josh's past with addiction and the constricting sensation he felt that many others also do in similar experiences.
  • How our minds are wired to use cravings as a means to get up and act on them. (24:00)
  • The mindfulness app-based programs he has helped create to allow people to better understand how some behaviors are more rewarding than others.

[27:00] Better Understanding Our Food Cravings

  • Dr. Jud and MindSciences' Eat Right Now app program which trains people in mindful eating.
  • The food rules many people have lived with for so long and how to let go of them by following a more ‘natural food law.'
  • How you can be more mindful during each meal and with every bite.
  • A specific example of how he helped a patient who began binge eating in connection with emotional abuse from her mother. (33:00)
  • Why we validate acting on our human behavior to get to the reward. (36:30)
  • The fact that our brains hate uncertainty so much so that we will always go to what we are already familiar with based on our past experiences.

[39:00] Our Intolerance For Uncertainty In The Modern Age

  • Why we have this need to know instantly when we're going to have access to something.
  • The perfect example of our need to know something instantly with the NYC subway system.
  • How a greater understanding of ourselves allows us to learn how we're driven, what motivates us, and what needs we have to fulfill.
  • Our capitalistic urges and coming to the realization of whether we actually need that money and will it better serve humanity?
  • Linking the spiritual and scientific evidence that kindness and compassion greatly impact human behavior. (47:00)
  • Why experiences, not things or money, is what will bring us the gift of connection.

[48:50] Curiosity Is Our Superpower

Power Quotes From The Show

'Being curious helps us avoid being sucked into our habitual reactions so that we can respond with awareness.' - @judbrewer Click To Tweet

Our Relationship With Food In 3 Basic Elements

“We can narrow down our relationship with food to three basic elements: a trigger, a behavior, and a reward. The process of those three combined elements is set up to help us survive from a nutrients standpoint. What we have to stand from a modern standpoint, is why our brains are still set on survival mode when we have a fridge full of food.” – Dr. Jud Brewer


The Power Of Mindful Eating

“Our Eat Right Now app program really teaches people step by step how to be more mindful with food. The first step is to just go ahead and eat but that really freaks out a lot of people because they've had these “food rules” forever and they feel like they're going to go to “food jail” if they don't follow them. So, we tell them to just trust themselves and follow the natural law rather than their own rules.” – Dr. Jud Brewer


Dialing In For Greater Emotional and Physical Intelligence

“Intelligence has a lot to do with dialing in and sensing these little feelings of contractions vs. expansions that emotions such as fear, joy, and curiosity create. If we can be intelligent around those pieces of subtle sensations that we experience, it's going to help us change bad habits, support the habits that are helpful, and foster greater kindness, connection, compassion, and mindfulness.” – Dr. Jud Brewer

4 Steps to Break a Habit | Dr. Judson Brewer

Links From Today's Show

About Dr. Jud Brewer

Dr. Jud BrewerJudson Brewer MD PhD is a thought leader in the ‘science of self-mastery,” having combined nearly 20 years of experience with mindfulness training with his scientific research therein. He has published numerous peer-reviewed articles and book chapters, spoken at international conferences, and his work has been featured in 60 Minutes, TEDx, Time Magazine (top 100 new health discoveries of 2013), Forbes,BBC, NPR, BusinessWeek and others. He is Director of Research at the Center of Mindfulness and an at UMass Medical School and an associate professor in medicine and psychiatry at UMass Medical School. He also is adjunct faculty at Yale University School of Medicine and research affiliate at MIT.

Mindfulness Training For Addictions

A psychiatrist and internationally known expert in mindfulness training for addictions, Brewer has developed and tested novel mindfulness programs for addictions, including both in-person and app-based treatments (ex. www.cravingtoquit.com). He has also studied the underlying neural mechanisms of mindfulness using standard and real-time fMRI.

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