Breaking the loop of unhelpful habits: Why willpower is 'more myth than muscle'
Psychiatrist and neuroscientist, Dr. Jud Brewer shares the importance of awareness and its effect on the brain when it comes to stepping out of bad habit loops.
[MUSIC PLAYING] When we step out of these habit loops, we can start to break free of those cycles.
When we get stuck in a bad habit, whether it's shopping or biting our nails or procrastinating
or stress eating or anything, our brains get stuck in these loops-- these habit loops. And these can turn into autopilot
where we're not even noticing that we're habitually doing these things. So as a neuroscientist, I started following the neuroscience to see
how we could develop programs that were specifically aimed at helping people break these cycles. And it turns out that there's one simple ingredient, which
is awareness. When we become aware of what we're doing, it helps us update that reward value in our brain.
So that if it's helpful, if it's rewarding, like being kind to other people, we do it more. And if it's not so helpful and it's not that rewarding,
for example, smoking a cigarette and really paying attention and seeing that a cigarette tastes like crap, it's much easier to break that habit.
As we explore stepping out of bad habits, one thing that's really helpful to keep in mind is to be kind to ourselves.
We often judge ourselves or beat ourselves up when we try to force ourselves to break a bad habit. But remember, willpower is more myth than muscle.
And also, we can get in the bad habit of judging or beating ourselves up. So here, keep in mind, what does it feel
like when we beat ourselves up? What does it feel like when we judge ourselves? And tap into the power of kindness.
What feels better? When we beat ourselves up or when we're kind to ourselves? So give yourself a break as you go through this process.
Bring in kindness as a way to support you wherever you are on your journey.
Take a deep breath in. MAN: Mindset is everything. I'm not 90 for nothing. Small steps, one motion.
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