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How to Break Bad Habits and Overcome Anxiety | Dr. Jud Brewer (ep. 594)

Dr. Jud Brewer

New York Times bestselling author Dr. Jud Brewer joins John O’Leary on the the Live Inspired Podcast with clear, solution-oriented steps overcome anxiety and “everyday addictions”.

As the New York Times bestselling author of Unwinding Anxiety and The Craving Mind, Dr. Jud Brewer is an expert in addiction, anxiety and modifying unhealthy behaviors to establish new, positive habits. With more than 20 years of rigorous research at Brown University, Dr. Jud uses his proven, evidence-based guidance to those struggling with unwanted behaviors and “everyday addictions.”

Passionate about understanding how our brains work, Dr. Jud has collaborated with U.S. Olympic athletes and coaches, foreign government ministers and corporate leaders to help make deep, permanent change in their lives.

Today, Dr. Jud joins us to explain why our habits are hard to overcome and the clear, solution-oriented steps we can implement to conquer them. Using curiosity and kindness, Dr. Jud shares how to break the cycle of worry and fear that drives anxiety and addictive tendencies.

Whether you or someone you love is struggling with compulsively checking social media, binge eating, smoking, excessive drinking… or any other addictions, this conversation is for you.

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  • When pursuing his doctoral degree, Jud compartmentalized his stress and didn’t recognize he was actually dealing with anxiety.
  • Habit Loop: Made up of a trigger, behavior and result, habit loops are set up in our brain so we don’t have to relearn everything every day.
  • “Our thinking brains are not nearly as strong as our feeling bodies.” Having a lack of willpower is nothing more than a great sales tool for formula-driven programs like Weight Watchers.
  • HALT: When you’re hungry, angry, lonely, or tired, you’re more likely to relapse to your bad habit or addiction.
  • “Meditation helps your brain get out of its own way. It’s mostly about being aware of your thoughts and not running after them in your mind.”
  • “Worrying does not take away tomorrow’s troubles. It takes away today’s peace.”
  • Finding the bigger, better offer: By bringing awareness, curiosity and kindness together, you’re able to step out of habit loops.
  • Learn more about Dr. Jud Brewer here.

Did you enjoy today’s episode?

You’ll love my conversation with Mel Robbins. When Mel was at rock bottom, her anxiety was so debilitating, she could hardly get out of bed. Today, Mel is a New York Times bestselling author of The 5 Second Rule, and has helped millions of people transform their lives with simple tools to become more confident, effective, and fulfilled. Hear Mel Robbins on ep. 87.


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  1. Q. What is the best book you’ve ever read?
    A. Poli Canon, the Buddhist doctrine.
  2. Q. What is a characteristic or trait that you possessed as a child that you wish you still exhibited today?
    A. Curiosity.
  3. Q. Your house is on fire, all living things and people are out. You have the opportunity to run in and grab one item. What would it be?
    A. My violin.
  4. Q. You are sitting on a bench overlooking a gorgeous beach. You have the opportunity to have a long conversation with anyone living or dead. Who would it be?
    A. The Buddha.
  5. Q. What is the best advice you’ve ever received?
    A. Chill out.
  6. Q. What advice would you give your 20-year-old self?
    A. Pay attention and learn hour your brain works.
  7. Q. It’s been said that all great people can have their lives summed up in one sentence. How do you want yours to read?
    A. Stay curious.