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More Mindfulness - Week 5

Uncategorized Feb 21, 2022

Whether it’s checking your email every few minutes, restlessly searching the internet for a new home you can’t afford, overeating, drinking too much, smoking or spending too long grazing on social media sites, everyone has at least two bad habits they would like to break but why is it so hard and why does willpower fail when you need it most?

In his TED talk, “A Simple Way to Break a Bad Habit”, psychiatrist Judson Brewer explains that the brain follows the pattern of ‘trigger, behaviour, reward - repeat.’ When you feel stressed, you might reach for a drink, your favourite sweets or a cigarette, which seem to make you feel better momentarily. Then you repeat the process and a habit starts to form. It’s the emotional trigger of feeling sad, bad, tired or in need which leads to the bad habit.

This week in More Mindfulness, we explored how our practice can help us to break bad habits, looking in particular at the work of Judson Brewer. Rather than getting sucked in by physical cravings, with mindfulness you notice their arrival and allow them to fall away by their own accord. Getting up close and personal with your own bad habits reveals how little they actually serve you. It’s with this realisation and a growing sense of disenchantment that you become able to extricate yourself from their grip. When you’re curious about your experience, it helps you step outside your entrenched behaviour.

To understand more about the science of how mindfulness works, tune in to Brewer’s TED talk, signposted below and see how it might help you break at least one of those pesky habits in the coming weeks and months. 

For those of you who would like to delve deeper, here is this week's selection of links:

To watch his Judson Brewer’s TED Talk entitled “A Simple Way To Break a Bad Habit, click here.

In his article, Train Your Brain To Break Bad Habits, Elisha Goldstein explores how mindfulness can help us to get curious about our triggers and how to observe, rather than react to compulsions. Click here to read more.

To listen to a podcast on “Hack Your Brain’s Habit Loops” with Judson Brewer, click here.

This Week’s Prose by Yung Pueblo

On a positive note, this week’s prose focuses on the growing of new habits and how patience is key:

Picking one or two new habits to establish and giving them the time they need to mature will set you up for long term victory. Once a new way of being feels second nature, you can expand into a new area. The new foundation you have been working on will be sturdy enough for you to build on top of it. The deepest transformations that end up being long lasting do not happen quickly, they are constructed slowly within you. Our society has an obsession with speed and a lot of that trickles into our idea of wellness and wellbeing. When it comes to your healing, a quick fix will not reach the root causes of your inner struggle. Intentionally focusing consistent energy on the particular area that you wish to grow in will bring you substantial results. There is beauty in embracing the long and slow journey forward. The brave and wise see patience as a noble way of being.”


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