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Obesity and smoking rank high among the world’s leading causes of disease and mortality. Unfortunately, if you’ve ever tried to quit smoking or overeating you know how hard these habits are to break. Psychiatrist and addiction expert Judson Brewer describes an alternative quitting process that has proven quite effective: mindful awareness techniques. Many view mindfulness as New Age mumbo jumbo, but Brewer demystifies the process. getAbstract recommends his elucidating talk to cognitive scientists, addiction therapists and anyone struggling to shed a bad habit.


Human beings learn through positive and negative reinforcement via a pattern of “trigger, behavior, reward.” For example, you eat to survive and your brain learns to associate delicious food with a good feeling. So you soon start reaching for ice cream or candy when you’re feeling low and want a pick-me-up. You also build similar associations in your mind for other activities. Perhaps you saw the cool kids smoking outside the school, so you decide to try it because you want to be cool, too. Eventually, you’re smoking to relieve all kinds of stress. The same brain...

About the Speaker

Judson Brewer founded Claritas MindSciences, which developed the Eat Right Now and Craving to Quit apps.

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