YANSS 161 – How to use brain science to break bad habits by escaping the ‘event horizon of the black hole of anxiety’

In this sprawling, strange, and mind-bending episode, Dr. Jud Brewer, a neuroscientist and addiction psychiatrist, discusses the biological origins of our bad habits and how we can change them using new techniques derived from his lab’s research.

Well, he tries to talk about that, but I keep interrupting him to try and solve the great mysteries of consciousness and the self. For instance, if you want to hear a neuroscientist quote Einstein — “No problem can be solved from the same consciousness that created it.” — then go from talking about worms and cigarettes to warning you to be careful with your brain or “you can go over the event horizon of the black hole of anxiety,” and the only way out is to add more information to the system to it can propel itself away from the worry black hole — this is the episode for you.

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In 2017, 10,874 people died in alcohol-impaired crashes — this is 29% of all traffic fatalities. 220 children 14 years old and younger were killed in a drunk-driving crash — that’s about one in every five children who die in a traffic crash. If you drink this Labor Day, save lives by designating a driver or using a ride-sharing service. Drive sober, or get pulled over.


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Visit DrJud.com to learn more about Dr. Brewer’s research and apps, and use code YANSS20 for 20% off any of the DrJud habit change programs.

Brewer is the author of The Craving Mind: From Cigarettes to Smartphones to Love — Why We Get Hooked and how We Can Break Bad Habits — and his TED Talk on how to change a bad habit has more than 12 million views. He is the Director of Research and Innovation at the Mindfulness Center and associate professor in psychiatry at the School of Medicine at Brown University, as well as a research affiliate at MIT. He has held research and teaching positions at Yale University and the University of Massachusetts’ Center for Mindfulness.

We talk about so many things in the show, from mindfulness to meditation to psychedelics to why we get stuck browsing the Netflix menu until we run out of time to watch a movie before bed — and lots more. It’s a free association smorgasbord of thinking stuff that will rattle your head.

Links and Sources

Download – iTunes – Stitcher – RSS – Patreon – Soundcloud

Previous Episodes

Jud Brewer’s Website

Brewer’s Lab: Mindsciences

The Craving Mind

The Apps ( use code YANSS20 for 20% off )

The Mindfulness Center