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Mindful : April 2018
MINDFUL AWARENESS >>> Notice our triggers, and learn to navigate them better. RESULT CAN GO EITHER WAY We act on the urge: We share the post and await the reward we’ll get from sharing it. Feel more pleasant (more excited, accepted socially), or... Source: Judson Brewer, MD, PhD, author of The Craving Mind. Graphic by Heather Jones. ON THESE PAGES WE ILLUSTRATE THE HABIT LOOP BY LOOKING AT ADDICTION TO SMARTPHONE USE. HOW MINDFULNESS WORKS TO BREAK BAD HABITS Habits are formed and strengthened as we journey through a continuous loop seeking to satisfy our urges. MINDFUL AWARENESS is a form of curiosity that can act like a wedge to break the habit loop at various points and open up the opportunity for fresh choices. WHAT’S YOUR DRUG OF CHOICE? MINDFUL AWARENESS >>> Simply notice the experience as pleasant or unpleasant. This is equanimity. It’s not just our brain. Our whole mind & body experiences and interprets a stimulus, such as a Facebook post, as pleasant or unpleasant. SMOKING OVEREATING LOVE SHOPPING SELF-CRITICISM MINDFUL AWARENESS >>> Notice the urge and the possibility of not acting on it. Having our urge rewarded sets us up to want more of the same, so we begin to alter our perception to seek and find opportunities to repeat the process. And we wonder how we end up checking social media hundreds of times in a day! MINDFUL AWARENESS >>> Notice that within the excitement lurks an uncomfortable restlessness. We sense the shallowness of the good feeling and how quickly it passes. IN FACEBOOK NEWSFEED: “WOW. LOOK AT THESE BABY GOATS! SO CUTE.” CUES AND TRIGGERS Feel pleasant (excited, happy, buzzed) or... We feel happy or hurt. We want the buzz to continue or the hurt to go away. This leads to urge/ craving. ...feel unpleasant (bored, anxious, stressed out) We crave to do something to feel good or avoid pain. In the example here, we really want to share the Facebook post. HOW DO HABITS LIVE IN THE BODY? Craving is not just in our heads. With mindfulness, we can be curious about how it emerges in our bodies. How does it show up for you? URGE TO MOVE AROUND SHALLOW BREATHING TIGHTENING OF ABDOMEN OR SPHINCTER UPSET STOMACH CLENCHED JAW TIGHT NECK AND SHOULDERS FURROWED BROW RACING THOUGHTS CHEST TENSION MOUTH WATERING “I GOT 122 LIKES!” The habit loop is a way to try to make ourselves happy by maximizing pleasure and avoiding pain. When we’ve found a way that seems to do that for us, lots of cues and triggers in life are available to fuel the engine and spin the wheel. To a social media addict, every event in life is a chance to post. To a smoker, every gap in the day is a chance to light up a smoke. WHEN WE BREAK THE LOOP, THERE CAN ALSO BE A REWARD IN THE FORM OF RELIEF OR EASE. “OMG, THAT IS SOOO ADORABLE!” Anything that brings pleasure and/or lessens pain can drive the habit loop. MIND & BODY REINFORCEMENT/PERCEPTION URGE ACTION REWARD/RESULT EFFECT “CAN’T FORGET MY PHONE, I MAY NEED TO CHECK FACEBOOK LATER.” “I’VE GOTTA SHARE THIS!” ...feel less unpleasant (less stress, less anxiety) START EFFECT CAN GO EITHER WAY