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#159: Judson Brewer, Unwinding Anxiety

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This is an unofficial transcript meant for reference. Accuracy is not guaranteed.
For maybe see the ten percent happier vodka in her the guy's anxiety. He is a huge issue these days, getting worse for a variety of reasons, including the technique Gee social media, especially among young people and our guest this week, we ve talked about anxiety on the show before with our guest this week has a really interesting approach. The to the issue he's not a sufferer per se, but he is neuroscientist are really prestigious neuroscientist who has developed a new way to treat it through an app called on wine, anxiety. His name is Judd. Brewer doktor, Judson Brewer. If you wanna be a formal about it, he's a friend of mine. I wrote about him in my first book and we ve been friends ever since he is actually somebody's really influenced the way I think about.
Science run meditation and meditation itself. He not only is highly accomplished I've, but is somebody's. Agitating for many many years very, very serious about that as well. So The doktor jack he's got a lot to say it's all very interesting. We'll talk to Jed come up. First, though, it your voice, mouse number, one how clinging to the window and I'm got out. The question is around: how do you get to do list and plan that you have for the day to stop running through your head? the morning when you try to meditate no morning tat, I think a good I'm trying to get set up into that practice, but
a continually my mind in the programme that way you can start running into this is what I wanna do today. This might humorous honey. I plan and I can put their own power and it keeps jumping in when I try to meditate earth thing in the morning. I wondered if you have any good kid for tricks on how to combat just to try to kind of get through the medication and do the medication in the morning and stop that to do less connected jumping at near first thing in the morning. Thank totally normal happens to me when I'm not manage it in the morning anytime, a Mediterranean region magenta focus on anything at all. I have this. You know back brown static of thinking about all the stuff that I need to get done, that I haven't done nor ever known well enough blah blah blah all the time, but specifically in terms of meditation I'll, tell you what I do. The first thing is, I think, trying to pause it or stop. It is a fool's air
to the extent that we understand the mine, in the brain yeah? I think we know that we don't know where thoughts come from. You know they come out of avoid that the mystery of consciousness, which is one of the most interesting mysteries in the universe that is filled with them. But this You know, would again the mystery of consciousness as we know that we know stuff and others. We know that we can hear thing see things that ideas can be summit can come into our mind, but we don't know what is knowing it we don't worry, there's no little you inside you're in inside your head, thinking these thoughts or receiving all the audio in your environment, the visuals and all that stuff. So it's a really interesting question. Anyway, I'm getting it
Highfalutin on you, you get to the specific question. You asked me how I approach it is not trying to fight it or stop it, but actually, I think counter intuitively welcome it in you know, as we know in meditation, it's a series of humiliations where you're sitting there trying to do this. Seemingly simple thing: we are focusing on the feeling of wrath coming and going out and they just get you get distracted over and over and over and over, and if it was a year to do list it would be something else, because that's the way the mind is the mind, as my friend Jeff worn likes, to say, secrete thoughts, the way the stomach secrete enzymes you it is just its job to thank you care it's. I understand why we do this, but it's a little silly in the end, to expect the mind to stop thinking in so and yet one
get distracted. We tend to beat ourselves up, so I I do this thing that the aforementioned Jeff Warren, whose really fantastic meditation teacher with whom I wrote a book recently. He actually said to me: I notice that there are five six neurotic programme I was that or you know, sort of inner characters that keeps popping up in your head. For me, one of them is just kind of an angry guy. Another is a planner witches germane to what you brought up. You know the sort of the planter, the largest issues, always thinking about that to do list. There's another voice in there that I have noticed that always comes up. That is super ambitious and a few more and an Jeff's advice was give each of these characters who are ready. Players in your inner dramas
name and when you notice them stepping onto the stage Billig hey what's up. In my case, I called the the planter and planning Voice, Julie, liquor, Julie, the crews directly from the love boat, updating list of here? Every ok, what's up Julie, welcome to the party so that way, you're not fighting against something that you never gonna win. You know you're, not starting a fight you're. Never gonna win you cottages, welcoming whatever's happening to the party in your mind, and then you go back to the breath over and over and over again, rather than trying to push it away or beat yourself up for
fact that those thoughts are coming just being cool with the fact that they're gonna come no matter. What and the only sane, workable scalable strategy in the face of this torrent is to be cool about it to be friendly to these characters. I think over time at least the theory is- and I've seen this work a little bit of my life- that when you stop fighting or feeding these neurotic habitual tapes that we run actually over time, they can diminish in their power. So try that and then call you Back If it doesn't work- and let me have it- are here's voicemail membership, they their money with Bob elder from how back bellicose? Thank you, pursed up for Europe and for your book. Truly like changing. For me, I tried the mother mindfulness apps and I really feel that ten percent happier has both the substance
and the variety of that I needed to do so to give them a habit and answer the question that I need answered. My question that I've always gonna guy you like to have a good time and like the beer formal has perhaps let me to drink more than I should like last night, not drastically effect my work life, but
days after a superhero, myself blocked the judgment, the anxiety and I try to get up in the morning and run off, but the entire times like the deadly hundred times and others. In your experience, how critical is kicking the booze in and drug habit, which I don't have cut in creating more mindfulness in one's life in a boat? Is one come about the other. It might be thought thanks again propitiate everything you do like such a good commission, so full moon for those you don't know what it is fear of missing out and when I take from your question, is that you so badly fear missing out that you go out a lot and then end up drinking alive and well it's not. You know, derailing your life. You don't feel that great the next day and at least his himself recrimination, etc, etc. So I hear you
you you said, thankfully, for me in your experience. In other words, you asked me to answer from my experience is that I don't want to answer from you know the top of Mount Olympus, but I'll just tell you how I deal with this of a specifically becomes a drinking and drugs joy. I stop doing drugs in the MID two thousand, because I had a panic attack to actually on national television, which is pretty inconvenient, and it was fuelled by the fact that I was artificially raising the level of adrenalin, my brain, because I was using cocaine, and so I really had to stop that. I stopped drinking because actually just drinking just didn't agree with me anymore, so was I I didn't ever really have a drinking problem, so I dont really do either those things, but I do have a really powerfully addictive personality and have had to give some things up, because I just noticed that I wish I was. I was just thinking about a too much and also just consuming what
in particular the talking sugar. So for me, sugar became a huge focus. Where I did you know. I had kicked a lot of my vices, but I really was into dessert, but I was into it way that was just gross and I mean I think I reference them and in my most recent, but that there was a knight, true story where I had so many Orioles that I woke up in the middle of the night and through I would just way overdo it. It was not not a good look and also because I'm kind of my constitution isn't it strong urine. If I just had a moderate amount of dessert, I would feel ill all of the next day, so this is where it becomes relevant to your issue, so at the again different substances, in my case it was sugar. In your case. Having a few beers or whatever, but it was the next day where I would feel awful, and it sounds like you too are feeling awful and
So I had to I just basically about thirteen fourteen months ago said: I'm done, I'm not having sugar anymore. I was inspired by my friend, Gretchen Reuben, who was the author of the happiness project and has been on his back ass a couple times as her own pike ass. She is a really good friend and just somebody I admire, and she had told me years prior that she had quit sugar because she just noticed that it was this producing this boring dialogue where she would wake up in the morning? But I wonder if I have any sugars and how much we too have working to be made to feel awful afterwards blah blah blah over and over. And I note that was what was happening for me. I just took her eyes. Suffer a little bit more before, was ready to actually do what I need to do, which was just give up give up sugar because with causing me more trouble than its worth and so yeah. I you know one I get some cravings on birthdays or when I
no out to dinner with France and Germany is having dessert, but I just know: look I'm not a guy with sugar anymore, that's just the deal and because I can handle it, just the same way. I cant do cocaine, you know like I did. They have similar effect on me. I was really cocaine is way more dangerous, although sugars pretty damn dangerous too, and so you know my meditation teacher Joseph Goldstein says this thing that I really interesting, which is that the term renunciation he's not a popular term in our culture. We don't it. Doesnt have positive overtones, but if you re frame it as non addiction, it actually starts to feel better, and so I'm not saying hey, you should never drink again. The winters are long up in Halifax, I'm sure, but you might want to consider a certain degree of written renunciation or non addiction, because you
oh, if you are really serious about your meditation practice those days afterwards. You know it's tough. I found the days when I was in a sugar coma, my I'll get out fallen, asleep or just completely fuzz down in my meditation pray so I am not going to give you a specific prescription. You know you ve only drink once a quarter once a week or whatever. That's that's totally for you to play with, but I just give you this concept. This sort of renunciation, light that Joseph talks about, because I found it really meaningful getting to a place of not being as addicted and thinking about it in that way has has been really useful for me so
luck with this play with it give yourself a break, know that you're gonna mess up and and and you'll have to experiment just the way I did with sugar for so many years. Even after Gretchen told me, I should probably quit I just played with it and play within suffered and all that stuff. Until I got to a point where I figured it out for myself, I good luck to you next guest actually turns out is. Is an expert in addiction? Is an expert in a lot of things. A doctor, Judson Brewer, is a long time. Meditate are also a student of the aforementioned Joseph Goldstein, and he is now the director of research and innovation at the mindful of this centre, which is in Massachusetts, he's also associate professor and psychiatry at the school of medicine at Brown University. He also affiliated with MIT used to be a fully with Yale. You get a picture, he's pretty serious dude. He has developed and he's been on the package before talking about his at base treatments.
For things like smoking and emotional eating, in fact, he teaches a course on the ten percent happier app about mindful eating whose really good about issues related to addiction, but now is moving into anxiety and he has a new app called unwinding anxiety and he's got lots of interesting thoughts about using meditation to deal with anxiety. So here is doctor general So this is a new app. You ve got what you call on winding, anxiety. I like that so how's work. What's the deal? Well, it starts
by helping people really understand how their minds work, which is something that most of us. I don't really have a good sense for, and so we we really train them to start to notice how our minds work especially inhabit mode search using this is the kind of the new I mean. There's a lot new to this, but one of the new angles is that that anxieties, a habit yet might seem paradoxical, Lord ironic or even nonsensical, but really it is when we look at it and especially that the loops that we get into around worry, for example, that has walk me through, I mean I know how it works. Cuz, I'm I'm in the loop all the time, but more interesting to hear you talking to me. So let's use a simple example. So, for example, if we feel a little anxious for some of us that are stress eaters, we might, eat the proverbial Oreo and then feel a little bit better. So there's your that's. How we started generate have a loop surroundings, eating based on anxiety or stress, eating.
So now what about worry thinking so, for example, let's say your mind, maybe you're good at solving problems and so anxiety. Comes up and then your mind says you know: I've got a great Eddie, I'm gonna solve this, and so it starts going into planning are thinking or fixing mode. So sometimes fixing mode works like we can come up with a solution. But what would you say would be the percentage of time for you or for people that you know they would get really anxious that that that thinking, but actually This is the problem. Well, I can only speak for myself, but the more mindfulness I have the more self awareness I have the more. I realise that most of my worrying is useless. Yes, so that will get to that in a second birth, but for folks they don't have that practice. For example, the worry thinking comes in and it says I'm gonna fix this and sometimes does fix it, so we can get this intermittent reinforcement prior, that's the problem area, so it's
It comes in his away, too, must have my the vote that user programme talk about feeling like a worry, helps me feel like I'm in control, for example or it said, the researchers actually shown that it functions as a distraction mechanism, so it it It- was better to worry than to have whatever the unpleasant emotion was that with anxiety or fear whatever itself, but that when that worry, darts spiralling on itself, it become so unpleasant that it it's doesnt work. Is it control strategy because we realised that we don't actually have control over these
and then it starts to feed on itself, because it becomes that unpleasant emotion that it was trying to fix in the first place, and so we spiral out of control or tightened down at this time. Little ball of anxiety based on existing, triggering worry, triggering more anxiety, triggering more worry thinking and adjust spins out of control, but just step efforts in what how it. How do you define you as a psychiatrist and nurse? I just? How do you define anxiety, I think of it as a kind of worry of the future excessive worry about the future young and why do you to draw the line? Is I think, a lot of us would describe herself as anxious motivator common word now, though, most like the way people described themselves ass, dvd, but it's all also Muskie, almost almost fluently used, and I don't know if people are being precise out. I don't know how besides, we need to be. I look at it as well or wheat suffering because of anxiety or not, and so I it's probably more respect from like your pointing out, and so there
Unif weed. If I put on my psychiatrist out, there's journalist, anxiety, Sworder, there's panic disorder in these all have criteria that vocation. Beat, but the bottom line is if we're feeling anxious. How much is that causing problems for us? So people who want to use your app it's not like they need to have a diagnosis of generalised anxiety disorder. It's just like our! U suffering because her anxiety, yes, but they the interesting part of it is. If you had asked me ten years ago, I would have told you my anxiety is what makes me had success. I've achieved is because I am anxious right. So that's an you see said it before that worry thinking work sometimes so We get into a story about how like yet sexting nauseous all the time but like if I wasn't anxious, all the time might be living under a bridge. This is so common that I wrote a specific module about this, so that you know some people describe it as proof. Thanks, I d or I need to be anxious in order to have drive my Phd thesis adviser, Lou, meekly talked of used to talk
true, true and unrelated, so might be modest about that a lot, so we might be anxious and we might debts thing done, but it doesn't mean that there is a causal connection between anxiety, getting us to get things done. In fact, if you look at the ultimate peak performance state flow, for example, completely anxiety free, but I would say that's where folks are performing at their best, so there, good evidence suggesting that anxiety might actually get in the way. We just think that its helping right to it it's where actually succeeding, despite our anxiety, the good ideas are sneaking up through the like sneaking up through the knots of worry but Surely, if you can lower the volume on the on the on the worry inert, After that, actually more good ideas might be able to seek their way to the surface. Thirdly, and in that anxiety is taken, credit is diabolical if it's all the function of the ego rewrite the linking mind yet so so what we through, how we break this habit?
well it's helpful. They knew how reminds works are one useful TED bid is too see that our minds are their reinforcement, learning machine so they're, looking there constantly, comparing looking for the baby, oh the bigger, better offer. So I love you know. Is it this chocolate or this chocolate, that's better in what, whichever one we it tastes better than our oral frontal cortex up day sentences eat that chocolate. You eat the one, the tastes better. So if we can start to see two things, one is how much anxiety is not serving us that it's actually painful in itself that helps diminished the value of the anxiety itself or less excited to be anxious or spiral out into were in the first by huge said this earlier. You said
went the more. I look at anxiety, the less I see that I get anything from it will for a lot of us, especially the performance, anxiety, folks, etc. They have to really see that clearly before they're going to be convinced and not convinced on a rational level, but their brain on a very deep level was like wow. This isn't helping me. So that's one step, but the other places that we need to do is find something that's a relative reward. So, for example, you know what does it feel like when your anxious we've talked about a contraction, vs expansion, that's feeling the anxiety. Would you say, anxieties contracting are expanding this like a horse blinders. He has horseplay pursuits its narrowing its limited, there's restlessness theirs in this disease that comes with its narcissistic of exactly LISA Mike S ear. So that's one piece we can start to see will what feel better than this. So, for example, joy,
curiosity, kindness and, as we start to see those actually feel better. Our brain says: who am I want some of that and so it starts- did not only see the relative diminished value of the anxiety itself, but it also starts at sea the relative reward that comes from kindness, for example, of the anxious part of my brain assigned. If I have a problem at work, like somehow trick my brain into giving joyous. That's not gonna solved the problem. I need actually have my I'm on the problem and order solvent right, but you don't need be anxious. While you have your mind on the problem, so you can see are there any say or do I need to be anxious to solve this problem, and then you can look at times when you,
all the problem that you were anxious verses times when you weren't anxious and solve the problem and see which ones actually more efficient that have the app help you do that I booked it through. You know. The first step is starting to recognize when we're stuck in that habit, loop around anxiety, so into triggers the worried thinking and all that. So I think of this is even use this three gear analogy, so if you think I'm driving a car you have to get in the first year to get that car moving so that first gear isn't recognizing any aspect of that habit. Loop. The second gear aspect is somewhat paradoxical: where really help people see very clearly what am I getting from this, and so that's the peace that you talked about earlier O. This anxiety is not serving me. That's where that relative reward court and court of anxiety starts the diminish? Then we move in the third year, Windward, less excited to be anxious in the first place, our brain starts looking for other things to do like. Oh, let's just not be anxious when working on this problem were, let's be kinder, let
practice in a really being in the moment so weak. Bring in specific mindfulness practices so, for example, breathing into anxiety, or using noting practices away to note what anxiety feels like so we're stepping out of the process itself in that's that's third gear to break down those to the breeding in to anxiety and using noting practices for people listening, who may not have a deep meditation practice or may not have meditated at all. Can just give us the blocking in tackling on the yards. Pretty simple we can do. Do this together so think of a time recently when you are anxious, Charlie ten minutes ago, can so noticed Where do you feel it in your body? Ok, so yeah, I had a meeting with my boss an hour ago of one of my bosses, and actually he was it was great meeting. You super nice, but I was just electric little a lot of things I wanted to cover and
I didn't know I had some ideas that I wanted him say yes to, and I wasn't sure if he's going to say yes, so I think definitely where I feel my body, the tightening in my chest- okay, great and that's a pretty common when there's some good research, knowing that the chest is one of the main air. Where we feel it so you can do, is just simply on your next in breath. Breathed into that. Feeling of anxiety right there in kind of hold it with a kind, curious awareness kind of like a mother holding her child. In the meeting I do, this is not go look onward. No you we can do this. You're right, you're right now, but little girl upward. While you still have to breathe, so they might not know that you are actually holding it. It was not like a deep breath nano you just breathing as you breathing it has breathed into that feeling and you get really gonna hold it in that in that awareness for a second, you knew as that in breadth, just hold itself, and then you can just let that breath go out, and sometimes you can feel a little bit that release simply by having held it and then breathing out
and so we can do that a couple of times- it's very simple- we all have to breathe anyway and is very interesting because often when were anxious, we notice that were not actually breathing were holding our breath. So what is the mechanism by which, just as you say, holding it in a way miss releases it while I dont know Neuro biologically what's going on there, but we do know experiential in you can probably you noticed this from your own experience. Bringing awareness to something that's tight, I it since it is kind of helps it loose. Up on its own like a? Why would I hold this tightness in my chest? It's kind of hard to in people to do this, so I'm just gonna. Let go with that gibes. Exactly with my experience. I dont know that I can rationally explain why. Need to help to achieve the beauty of it? Ok, so noting practice was the other thing you said as a technique that can be used here, so you could go back to that situation and you can see
clean, and you can even do this out loud now. Note the physical sensations, with anxiety feels like swings, ideas, a concept. If you had to break it down for me, how would you describe anxiety for me right now? What does it feel, like, I would say, was based on my noting correctly languorous tightness? What else worry? Ok, which worry? What does worry feel like in the body here, tightness and then maybe a little gurgling in the stomach perfect. So we note those physical, sensations, we'd, know thinking like you're alone throbbing in the head area, and so we can bring awareness simply through these. This, noting practice we note the physical sensations we'd, know thinking. I would note anything that arising and it's really interesting because as we bring that kind curious awareness to it, we start to see that these. These aren't, quite as you know, is formed in in stable, as we might think they earn are lot of of patients wake up in the morning and say: oh, I am anxious and they
feel like they're going to be anxious all day when they break it down in any one moment that anxiety is very much in flux. So that's really what I want to let that pass. It is so important that, when one of the many benefits of mindfulness in many cases, but a specific This case is that you notice that your anxious and you and me really your mind it. This is the buddhist word, for this is propulsion whom you immediately Credo met A movie of a whole day filled with anxiety where you're unable to function but of the ages zip into right now and investigate it with some curiosity, in friendliness, you see that anxiety as you're. You know as your experiencing it truly right how is this whole circulating, bully obeys of physical science, genes in mental phenomena and and then all of a sudden does seem so monolithic raise more manageable right. Cause in this moment is constantly changing his camera,
oh, no, I'm gonna have anxiety today tomorrow forever the rest for my life, whatever that's the papaya. I love that word because it sounds like we're galloping off into the theatres but bunch about much of appointed rapporteur by functional it's. What am I favour words of all time? It's in a just for the uninitiated. It's a ancient indian word from the polish language, the total used at the time of the Buddha, and it means they think it translates into. Imperialistic tendency of mine. So it's like the the mind, is colonizing the whole future with a data point from the present moment, which may or may not have any basis in reality is part of this seems to be seeing the difference. Seeing that your thoughts are just that thoughts there, don't you I have to take them. The thought of I'm going to be anxious. All day is, if you can zoom back to camera, just a little bit and see that's that's just a thought. That is a huge victory, absolutely There are a couple of ways that this programme in their many programmes, the teach these types of things
but we link the yours is the best clear with absolute. So so, how many days is the EP its we actually we're, not using the term days were using module. So there are thirty mean modules, the start of the programme, and we use that because folks, it are anxious, tend to be anxious and so they think oh no. I have to do this within thirty days, for example, but if we a habit around anxiety that can be a lifelong thing that you they can be really challenging to break in thirty days. So we really wanted to have people, take it at their own pace, every seven
ah jewels, there's a quiz that says you know it have. You got in this this this, if not go back and review these modules, and so we really want folks to be taking this inner in personalizing in individualizing in a way that will help them. The most compare do great I've gotta do this in thirty days go and how much does it cost I'd say bouts? I should know this better, I think about thirty dollars a month or others discounts for folks getting a six month subscription, etc. Ok, so you it's you, don't by the modules and then you're done with it. Actually, it's like an ongoing its rights. A subscription and part of that is related to given online community that I am authorised and we ve trained people to help support. Folks in the community we have a weekly live session veto web. You is doom as a way to do that so far,
Can I join us from anywhere in the world than all moderate that session, so they can have access and ask questions, etc, selling out yet so illegal. It's something that you were trying to really have this be supportive inaccessible, and so it is not just an app with a couple of modules, one of the things you're here from users that their finding most useful. I, where do I begin I've? I would start with some of the things that really blown me away. One was a couple of folks had been describing how their riding out full blown panic attacks things that they have in panic disorder where they had. This for years and years and years and they actually able to ride out full blown panic attacked. While I'm in I find that extremely interesting. Although I am a little sceptical having been through many full blown pack tax myself, It doesn't seem eyeball. I often joke you can't hurl yourself a little Lotus position when you're having a panic. It's like you can't
I think- and this is I agree with you- I was this is where it really stand, because I was not expecting affects like this but when you, when you really understand how your mind works, and you ve really got these practices down pretty well, the noting private and in particular the one of the people, I'm thinking of his using the noting practice and she'd. No, no, no! No! No and I'm gonna tell you my own personal experience with panic attacks, I started having them. I think during residency, when I was training to be a psychiatrist and I pick up in the middle of the night with a full blown panic attack, and fortunately, I've been practicing for, while at that point- and I automatically would start note, if a member at the end of these, I would note just go through the DSM. The DSM check checked. Oh, I just had a full blown panic attack, but I noted it to the point where I was able to ride with it and be with it where it is kind of it came up. Full force did its thing,
then stopped, and I probably had four maybe five of those and then I never had once then well. I've been, but I think from me pan. The panic attack only happen well it or to think times when I get them. One is one on live television. So it's like noting as little Dealing with be talking to the other would be when I'm be, when yeah The latter seems more workable, although I'm just so terrified that I can't do anything and I meditating, you know not forever belike nine years. That's not nothing, and I just I just feel like I'm no match for the US, so I cats had one on air and I wouldn't recommend that sir
anybody, I only having seen you hers. It helps not to Duke. Ok, I'm sure, I'm sure, but I think the other peace here to have a little bit of trust yourself in is that these practices really build up over time, and so the thing that I and I was really just really grateful for after having had these myself- was that this practice to kicked in automatically on its openness. Yeah like so interesting, often like him two times when I've interviewed police officers or members of the Military- and you asked him on it, but a stressful situation and they always say my training kicked it and that's what we're doing a meditation, exec clinic and kick in like just when we need it. I want. I knew we were gonna. We're gonna talk about some of that were in the middle of talking about some of the responses you're getting for users, but to call a tangent briefly. They want to know who you are.
You and anxious person would you describe that as being something you wrestle with absolutely absolutely, and I would say that might mindfulness practice has been a lifesaver in that respect, to be able to have it come up and not have it ruled the day so, but it doesn't alleviate, it doesn't mean you never get anxious until you catch it sooner. You know it's hard to say I the to myself and do the parallel experiments I now, especially because it's in other times where it just pops up and then it's gone pops up, and then it's gone their times where it sticks around a bit longer in their times. When I'm not exists at all in it. It's hard to know what my new baseline is after having practised for a couple of decades here. So you know, fires have a week into an anxiety. Gagging like oh now to my mom escaping no, I know it's, I would say on a daily basis. I can definitely consider myself
not to have generalizing ideas or anything to that extreme. I ends that in general. I am. I can't complain about my life. It's it's not bad! It's great ok, so back to with things that your hearing that are surprising you from users or not, he doesn't necessarily have to be surprising, but what the things that their funding, the most flexible to their data moment to moment lives. So, besides things like in a panic attacks, there's further a lot of things where they just have this low grade or even medium or high grade anxiety. That's the throughout the day I just the understanding this habit loop around the worry and seeing that there is a way out, I'm thinking of there is at one of our pilot testers was so compelling she roaming, email. I and said you know I feel like this anxiety. I am anxiety, its deeply etched in my bones
and that was so compelling to me. The roads are module. Twenty nine actually about that to see where we become so identified with anxiety that we can't imagine ourselves without it and in fact I'd as people through the programme. They start to see. They are not anxiety, just like they're, not their thoughts. They are now the anxiety, and that is a tremendous relief for them. Just you know that stay tuned. More of our conversation is, way after this, so you just woke up your phone is lighting up with headlines and push noted occasions, a text from your mom saying. How do I click this? Ok, maybe that's just me, but if you want to get up to speed check out the new podcast from ABC News Start Literally, the ground was shaking. I'm bride milking and every morning we're gonna take you to the stories that matter with fast, fresh
inside a low robber, Mahler Michael Culling, calling only twenty minutes start here: listen for free and apple podcast or your favorite podcast app. It what what what is a science say about how good meditation is my fulness practices are for anxiety. Some of the best evidence is around exciting, in particular, so as some of the earliest and strongest and most robust data around, for example, embryos are my funds, be stress, reduction for anxiety. I mindful of space cognitive therapy, is also been used for it as well, and so these in person, trainings, have been shown to be tremendously helpful weave. We have some pretty positive pilot data from our programme for Europe yeah, so we we ve been bedded validated measures right into the up, so that we can focus contract their own progress also, so they can bring their scores to their clinicians I've. I can't tell you how many times have adaptation
walk into my office, and I say what your anxiety been like over last month and they give me the blank stare, I'd love to be able to look at where say. Oh, you ve track this on a weekly basis. What what was it like this? You ve track this on a daily basis, so they can not only identify their habit patterns but also, I can see. Are they making progress? Are they not making progress? Where do we need to tweak things a bit? So first somebody listen to this, who may have you know garden variety anxiety, Mina feel compelled to get the app. Yet or may not have the money. Yet for the Epp, will you say, general advice for managing anxiety in our lives, the only honest dice, yeah I'd
It really starts with really understanding how our minds work. I think that's what mindfulness training in general is about, and so you know a lot of meditation practices. A lot of noting practices to help us start to see the patterns that we set up in our minds. We don't need an app for that. We can start to pay attention to that ourselves, and so you know, I would say, like I talked about with first gear, just starting to recognise when our habit patterns are what triggers anxiety for us. What is our go too? Is it worry thing? and then starting to dive into worry thinking in asking what do I get from this? You know not an end in a thinking way, but really just seeing what the results of worry are. You know we talk a lot in Buddhism about cause and effect. If worry is the cause with the effect of that, so we can start to see very clearly Those results are so our brain can really see hate. What am I getting out of this? I'm taking a walk with you once and you serve describe out, I'm probably in a mango this so you'll correct me that the core of your approach, cuz, you work on
You bring mindfulness to all sorts of issues, including mindless eating, the core of your approach is seeing clearly that, if you can t you can teach her person see their own mental processes. Clearly they are not as own by them, and that gives you the leg up, I would even say that that seen clearly helps us hack into the very process that setting up these unhealthy habit leaps in the first place, so we can start to. If are you know, habitual behaviour is worry. What, if we replace that behaviour with awareness that does two things one is it stepped out of the worry cycle in itself, but that awareness helps us see how painful the warriors, and it also helps to start to see how how sweet awareness itself is already milling. Question is based on that go so just walk me to have that would work
I have enough self awareness so that, when I may notice that I'm caught in a little tangle of worry and instead of my old habitual response, which is this feed it feed it feed it through more neurotic obsession. I actually just stepped back and bring some awareness to the fact that this has happened and then what I would even say in one piece of that awareness is this attitude. No quality of curiosity, so curiosity keeps us draws us in what is this curiosity itself? Fields feels pretty good, so if we can tap into that capacity to be curiously, aware right. There were not only stepping out of the process, but were stepping into something that feels better than anxiety itself. So you mean I've noted this about your approach before, which is that in some ways- Your enemy hedonistic may be the wrong word, but you're you're trying the brain wants things that are pleasant,
We are always trying to tap into the reward system to help us break out of these habits that are actually causing suffering the if it's, the strongest, learning process that we have. Why not use it right? What would you rather use No, no, I'm I'm definitely even a man so yeah. I want to use the reward system of the brain to to be able to, because I think he will I've just no way for myself. It will work sir ride that one rather than grit and willpower which, as you have pointed out before, can evaporate pretty quickly. Yes, fortunately it. What do we know about the prevalence of anxiety in our culture now, as opposed to an over fifty years ago? I dont know historically, and but I do know that it is the most prevalent category of of psychiatric disorders. If you want to look at disorders themselves, so the anxiety,
disorders of the most prevalent on average, if I remember the numbers correctly- the prevalence, for example, of journalists, anxiety disorders about twenty percent of the population, there were some my New York Times. There is the New York Times article talking about the prevalent in college students, and if you believe that data, they were. They were reporting greater than fifty percent of college students meet some level of clinical great anxiety. I can't imagine that college students fifty years ago were that anxious, don't they seem pretty Chillun animal has. So what do you think's going on? Well, I don't know because I wasn't why fifty years ago I can say that there is a lot of so one thing. We can look at the causes of anxiety, so I this uncertainty is a killer for
bugs anxious. Just our minds are trying their prediction missions trying to make sense of the world and trying to predict the future that trying to create stability, trying to get control the more instability there is so, for example, just use political instability, for example. If we don't No, what's gonna happen, data day on the political sphere that can cause anxiety for anybody that follows that peace. If we don't know, what's happened day today, environmentally little less volatile, then the political sphere, but there is more, and certainly with the environment, for example. Now that increases folks, anxiety and weaken apply this to any aspect of our life. So if we don't know we're going to have a job tomorrow that causes anxiety. If we don't know if we're gonna, u know far relationship is on the rocks or the outcome of our student loans yeah all of those things so
the thing that increases the likelihood of of instability or unpredictability, that's gonna relate in and be proportional to anxiety what role of any do think the proliferation of technology and social media play in anxiety, especially among young people, whether a couple of new pieces there that we haven't had before. So what is it although the fear of missing out so one is that the availability of information we ve never had access to information like we do now and so there's this whole thing about. Oh, if I don't know everything or if I'm not up to date, there's this worry that work. You know that we're gonna miss out on something. So that's one piece of or you're seeing picture. Instagram of of Oliver bodies at a party that nobody invited you to that doesn't help either
right and there's also this week, and we can talk about technology addiction that wasn't around in a smartphone. The Iphone came out in two thousand and seven, so we've only had the ability of these. I love the turn the weapons of mass distraction. If we only have it for a decade, and so that's completely new and burst onto the scene in texting, is now more addictive or more dangerous than drunk driving. You know so we see all of this just completely swooping and I don't think anybody had idea no idea about how massive this was going to be. Do you have thoughts on how we can use my phone is to manage our relationship to technology? You know that that phrase from princess comes, the might help me Obi, WAN you're, my only hope,
I really because these are these are being engineered on such a rapid scale to increase the addictive potential of these things. Just as companies try to compete with each other to be more more addictive there, a couple of in, if you think about it, you can large company they have user bases of a billion or whatever it can do it a study in a single day where they have a sample size of a hundred thousand, where they can test a verses, be avers and they're doing this constantly said the rapidity with which this stuff gets. Iterator non is, is mind boggling, so in the only thing that I see that's going to help us be able to work with that, and this isn't about you know, setting up government regulations or you know, asking companies to police themselves, because this is their revenue stream, You know for a lot of these, so I would say the only way that we're going to be able to do to be able to work with this is to really understand how our minds work, and why,
them in a watch our minds, so we can see how we're getting sucked into this, and then we can use same process that we are talking about with anxiety. We can start to see a. What do I get when I am addicted to my phone, I'm thinking of a specific example there was a resident physician that I was that was working with me. Who was she was she will got one Saturday night. She was from a daydream, basically where she said that you know I was standing in the kitchen. My two kids were at the dining room table and I was away from the table checking my news feed and I woke up to the fact
I am completely disconnected from my kids and there was such a wake up call for her to say, wow, look how it. How did I get here you knowing that was the the gutter? The proverbial got her for her. There was a big gacek where she really in motivated her to really change that that behaviour herself simply by waking up to us, we're talking about waking up seeing that process. Clearly its its exact same furred technologies is with anxiety. So it's not there's not some magical and they will be once I can shop with a lifesaver. Basically, you just have to use the tools and mindfulness the sort of daily reps of learning. How to see what's happening in your head so that you doesn't own you and so for me to say that I am checking my phone all the time, but sometimes I notice a. Why am I doing this?
like I'm, not getting anything out of this, I'm just doing it to do it. Why not just like put it away and just be alive for a minute, so each time you wake up and to that that helps to help you become disenchanted with the process, and then you get in more control, and if you have control over your mind, you know where you were. Through these awareness practices, then matter: what technology throws it? You because your mind will know what to look for disenchantment. Is such a great word. He just unpack it. I would say not being I think, of Pepe appear they cartoon skunk, who flowed through the room at the of that the female cat you know where it's like were completely Enamored in enchanted under this, spell of what weathers technology here Are our minds or whatever the disenchantment is simply seeing that that sent is actually rotten? Oh well,
why this is what's drawing me in this? Doesn't do it for me, so I'm stuck on twitter fur. Twitter whole first seven hours and my you might wake up at some point, nosey of a throbbing headache, your stomach subside, youve etons. Seven, sleeves of Orioles, and you we're like what am I getting owes nothing, but suffering might save for video games seem for any of these other socially addictive thing more than a node used in moderation. All these things are just fine. Absolutely. I couldn't navigate Boston without my phone, I'm nuts become luddites the technologies only gonna get more more integrated. It's a matter of being able to use it responsible. Do not think there some
I'm responsibility on the companies. I think it's in individual choice, ultimately, and so if the company executives decide that it's important more important to help society than to to make profits further shareholders thin, I imagine they'll make those choices. Resolve may be about water, whatever pressures brought to bear on them. There there's a complex calculus, I'm sure it's very complicated the ended it day. You don't wanna, have your happiness, dependent upon the decisions made in the sea. Sweden Silicon Valley, you wanna be taking response. For your own mind and that so that in some ways in many ways, if not in all ways it on you, the user. Yes- and I would love everybody to take responsibility, whether us as the individual user and as well as the sea, sweet folks. I hope that everybody is thinking about this. It's it's are my fur and my new friend minutiae. Moreover, yet on a few hours she's a pot in excellent podcast called note to self
and it's about the relationship we have to take, as she said, and I'm gonna mangled quote that were basically conducting a global science experiment right now with our minds and this technology. Its uncontrolled, and nobody knows what the outcome be. Yes, it's really incredible to watch. I was from the train yesterday and I just took look around everybody's on their own. Absolutely I was, hearing about psychology since my my wife's a college, professor, and they have these seminars and they take a bio break in the middle of the seminar in instead of these college students actually talking to each other. They are all just instantly on their phones again, no social interaction with each other at all. Yeah, I'm saying in part because, like I know I do that to you know, I try not to do it that much, but I kept claimed to well. Here's the nice parties when we wake up from this, and we see that the joy
that why the veal, when we are actually connected with folks, that's really tasty, and so, when we start doing that, other people are going to say why we are. What are you smoking? I want some of that, but I find it so often from me the moment of waking up is just basically a moment of self regulation like how could I have done this? I'm never gonna be able to break out of this habit. To be sending there's, there are ways to wake up that are wise and unwise so you can wake up and then start flagellate itself legislating, and then you can wake up to the self regulation and get out and then said, how hilarious is greater self liability and then you ve popped that bubble as well there. My friend Jeff says where were like there were walking around in a thousand nested trances, you know, and you just have to systematically wake up from them. The best you can absolutely anything. I should have asked you, but I didn't know this has been great. Let's do the plug zone say more.
About where we can get Europe more any where we can follow and social media where we can get any information about you anything you care about, give me everything, and winding anxiety, dot com. People can learn more about the app myself referential website. Its Judson brewer dot com that links to all in art. On my anxiety pro, am I right now programme for emotional and stress eating in which, by the way we talk about this this, I guess the force of you wanna hear, but that which is super fascinating, go check it out. We have a whole course and a ten percent happier app that's kind of like a taste Appetizer of what you'd get, if you did you right now so, and but isn't yours over smoking. Cessation of the Ets called craving to quit, the three main apps relating to Quit- eat right now on winding exit Write a need for the e right now program is go eat right now, dot com, but the others are just self named and if I want to, but you can get to happen in Google play or an apple app store.
Yeah yeah and I wrote a book called the craving mind their details, all the signs behind this great book in your own Pakistan, where that is well. Having has you bananas bike as this is the second Second, London, some wrong social media, I'm not answer
for media very much. My twitter handles Judson Brewer, but I think I tweeted like thirty six times ever. Ok and you have a TED talk. I do that when was seen a couple of times he adds on TED. I think it's a simple way to break a bad habit, simple way to break out that have awesome if we get it off it you're the man you're. No, thank you. I think Europe is ok. That does it for another edition of the ten percent happier pike ass. If you liked it, please take a minute to subscribe rate us also. If you wanna suggests topics, you think we should cover our guests that we should bring in hit me up on twitter at Danby. Harris importantly, I want to thank the people who produce this podcast. Lord Efron just go ahead and the rest of the folks here at ABC, who helped make this thing possible
we have tons of other back ass. You can check them out at every single time, casts dotcom I'll talk to you next Wednesday, there's not a person in America who hasn't been impact it in some way by the corona virus pandemic, but it every community there are pockets of people. We're suiting up every day. This is my my day last day of the cylinder stretch of quotas from one of our time in these or America's essential workers, the people who are keeping moving. I turn into a homespun mom and now in a new plants from ABC News. You gonna hear from damage. I actually went back to my office and saw a crime, because it's not fair hearing here, making sure that our community to sell faintly moraine. This is essentially inside the from the emergency room. It's the police cruiser to the czech outline. You hear what this pandemic sounds like the people pretty
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Transcript generated on 2020-05-27.