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Mindfulness for Addiction

Judson Brewer & Melli O'Brien






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Mindfulness for Addiction

Judson Brewer shares how the practice of mindfulness for addiction can also teach us how to untangle ourselves from what is said to be the biggest obstacle to mindful living—our attachment to craving.

Recently I had the pleasure

of interviewing Dr.

Judson Brewer.

Jud is the director of research

at the Center for Mindfulness at

the University of Massachusetts.

And, you know, he's really an

internationally known expert in

mindfulness training for addiction.

He's considered to be a thought

leader in the science of self-mastery.

And he combines 20 years of his

own practice of mindfulness with

his cutting edge research into the

neural mechanisms of mindfulness.

I think you're going to find

these conversation both insightful

and very, very practical.

In this conversation, Jud reveals the

science behind how addictive cycles

begin and why mindfulness can really

help us break free of those cycles.

And we also speak about why human

life is often characterized by a

constant sense of wanting more and

how we can become deeply fulfilled

and content as a way of being in life.

And finally, we also speak about the

four step process that Judson uses

to bring mindfulness to any moment

when a craving or an urge arises.

I hope you enjoy my conversation with Dr.

Judson Brewer.

So Jud, thank you so much for taking

the time to share with us here today.

I really appreciate it.

My pleasure.

Thanks for having me.

And actually, I'm also going to take

this opportunity to thank you very,

very much for the presentation that

you did for The Mindfulness Summit.

I haven't had a chance

to thank you in person.

It was really insightful

and incredibly helpful.

We have amazing feedback about it.

So thanks for that too.

Great to hear.

So in, in that presentation that you did

for the Summit, you spoke about how your

research into how mindfulness can help

us with addictive urges and, yeah, again,

it was incredibly helpful and insightful.

And I'd like to dig a little bit

deeper into that today, but also

just to talk about some general

aspects of mindful living that you've

picked up through your personal

experience and research along the way.

So first of all, I'd love to

know though how, how your own

journey into mindfulness started.

Was it something that began for

you as a, as a child, or was this

something that unfolded later in life?

Tell us the story about

your own journey there.

It's hard to know exactly because in

retrospect, you know, you look back

and say, oh, maybe that was something,

but definitively I do know that, right.

I was about to start medical school

in the mid nineties and had gone

through a bad relationship breakup

and was having trouble sleeping,

probably for the first time in my life.

And somehow this Jon Kabat-Zinn

book landed in my lap.

And I read a little bit of it

in started, started meditating

my first day of medical school.

I was listening to his cassette

tapes, for those of you that

remember what a cassette tape is.

And started meditating right at the

beginning of medical school and found

that, you know, it was really helpful

for me to work with my mind, work with

stress and even, you know, during boring

medical school lectures, I had lots

of time to sit and pay attention to my

breath as a, as a beginning practice.

So that's when it started.

Ah, and what was one of the first big

aha moments, realizations, insights

that came from your practice that you

feel really had an impact on your life?

A big impact.

Great question.

That was a while ago so it's hard to say

what some of the first ones were, but I

did start noticing that, you know, during

medical school and during graduate school

that, you know, I really could start to

not be sucked into this or this or this in

terms of my mind spinning out of control.

It was, it was really helpful

in, in those respects.

And then, you know, in terms of getting

out of my own way, whether I was seeing

patients or getting a review from a

reviewer when I had submitted a paper

or submitting a grant or working with

a coworker that just all of these

aspects of my life started showing

up in a way that was very helpful.

So it sounds like it helped you to

break free of being caught up in cycles

of stress and kind of struggle there.

Yes, absolutely.

And as you reflect back now,

how many years have you been

formally practicing now?

It's 2016, it's been 20 years.

Twenty years.

So as you reflect on that 20 years now,

from where you're standing now, what would

you say has been the biggest challenge

or one of the biggest challenges in your

practice and how have you overcome it?

These are such great questions.

One of the biggest

challenges in my practice.

You know, I'm kind of hard headed, so

I, you know, practice has always been

a real go-to for me in terms of coming

back to the practice and so it's always

been, there've been so many gifts

that I've gotten through practice.

What's been challenging, cause it hasn't

been, you know, I've been relatively

regular in practicing, so that hasn't

been a problem that some of, you know,

maybe, just the way that, that my mind is.

I had grown up playing the violin,

so had learned that dedicated

practice every day is very helpful

in developing any new habits.

So maybe that was something that

was a little easier for me than,

you know, than some people find.

I'm trying to think what was it, what

has been difficult in practice for me?

Maybe just seeing how the mind, you

know, when, when I'm really, when it's

really clear to me how much suffering

I've been part to, have caused.

It, you know, that's, that's been a

real challenge just to see how there's,

boy I've caused a lot of suffering.

And in that sense, it's very

humbling at the same time.

Another difficulty has been trying to,

you know, early on, I was trying to

really intellectualize the practice

as compared to just practice.

In that sense, loving kindness was a

particularly challenging practice for me.

You know, my kumbaya letter went

off, you know, off the charts.

The woo woo meter.


What is this touchy feely, goofy stuff?

And I promised my teacher that

I would just practice it as a

concentration practice and that was it.

And then I started learning that it

was like just so much more than that.

But it took me years, I think, of,

of dedicated loving kindness practice

to really see the doubt, you know,

this wasn't some woo woo thing.

So that was, that was another one

of the, the big challenges for me

was to get over my own concepts

of what loving kindness was.

So those are a couple of examples.


So I'd love to just dig in a little

bit deeper about your, your work with

addictions and kind of dig a little bit

deeper about some of the stuff that you

spoke about in the summit presentation.

And by the way, for everybody who's

viewing this right now, I'm going

to, at the moment you have to pay to

see Jud's presentation, but I'm going

to open it up for free for a week.

So, and there'll be a link

to it below this video.

So you can go and watch that as a

compliment to these conversations

so that you can kind of dig a

little bit deeper into this.

But in that, in that presentation,

you spoke about exactly how our

addictive patterns arise and

you spoke about habit loops.

So I was wondering if you could

just now again talk about what habit

loop is and also how mindfulness

helps us break those habit loops.

I'd be happy to.

I think of that the habit loop has

been something that's been described

in modern psychology using terms

like positive reinforcement, negative

reinforcement, operant conditioning,

associative learning, all of these

point toward this process that, you

know, basically if you break it into its

simplest parts starts with the trigger.

So let's say we get stress as our

trigger, that leads to a behavior, which

is, you know, let's say that we eat

chocolate or we eat a cupcake, and then

there's a reward that comes from that.

Oh, cupcakes tastes pretty good.

So that habit loop, that's

the simplest form of it.

But we can think of it in terms of

positive and negative reinforcement.

That in the sense that we, you

know, we see a cupcake, our brain

says, oh, that looks pretty good.

We eat it.

We tasted, it tastes very good.

And, you know, we get this sugar rush

or whatever, and then we lay down this

memory, oh, cupcakes tastes pretty good.

And we can also start to

learn to associate positive

mood states with cupcakes.

Oh, you know, if I'm not feeling

good, then my brain says,

oh, I've got a great idea.

Why don't you eat a cupcake?

I can relate to that.

So we move from cupcakes, tasting good

to suddenly a negative mood leading to us

having an urge to eat a cupcake because

we want that negative mood to go away.


We eat the cupcake, that

negative mood goes away.

And then we learn, oh, well just

eat cupcakes when you're sad, when

you're angry or you know, or whatever.

And so we start to form these habit loops

around all sorts of behaviors, whether

it's eating, smoking, using drugs,

yelling at people, going, in, you know.

You can imagine all the different

types of coping mechanisms that we

have in life as a way to deal with

the unpleasantness, make, trying

to make the unpleasantness go away.

And trying to hold on

to whatever's pleasant.

You know, like, oh, it's been a great day.

I'm going to take a picture and kind of,

you know, try to hold on to this beautiful

sunset that I'm watching as it goes away.

So the interesting, so

that's the habit loop.

And the interesting thing about

this that the Buddhist psychologists

described this 2,500 years ago

in, in basically the same process.

The only thing is they used a couple of

other terms, one including ignorance,

where they said that this process

is perpetuated through ignorance.

And in modern day, we describe

that in terms of subjective bias.

So if I eat cupcakes when I'm sad,

I suddenly start wearing these

glasses that sees the world, I see

the world through, oh, if I feel

bad I should eat cupcakes glasses.


The Buddhist psychologists

described this in terms of ignorance

because we're not seeing clearly.


And what are we seeing clearly?

Well, the cupcakes aren't going to fix

whatever that root cause of my sadness is.

They're just going to give me

a sugar rush and make me feel a

little bit better in the short

term because I'm getting dopamine

released in my brain, as an example.

Yeah, and in the long term, we often,

it's not going to give us, it's

actually going to lead us towards

more suffering and more pain, not

towards what we're really looking for.


Right, right.

More suffering because eating more

cupcakes isn't going to fix it.

It's actually going to give us a stomach

ache or give us diabetes, or, you know,

make us obese, just using that example.

So how does mindfulness, and again 2,500

years ago that not only do they know

those causes, but also they spoke about

how the work that you're doing now, how

mindfulness can break that habit loop.

So can you tell us about that as well?


So it's interesting that they

really focused on craving

as one of the core problems.

So we get caught up in craving.

We crave pleasant things.

We crave for unpleasant things to go away.

And they said, well, if you focus on

the craving, you can start to break down

the craving and see what it actually is.

So my patient, I've had patients come

into my office and say, you know, if

I don't smoke, my head will explode.

And we say, okay, well, when your head

explodes, put the pieces back together

and call me and we'll document it.


Because it feels so bad, but these

are just physical sensations.

So if we can break it down, and that's

what mindfulness is all about, if we can

start to drop into our body and say, well,

what does craving actually feel like?

If we can get curious about that craving

and instead of trying to push it away,

turn toward it, we can notice the

cravings are made up of body sensations.

And for some people there's a, there

are tightness, there are restlessness.

For some people, you know,

there's some mouthwatering there.

You know, it can be all

sorts of physical sensations.

But when we notice that, we

can notice, oh, well tightness.

Well, my head's not going

to explode from tightness.




There's restlessness.

And we can start to be with these

sensations rather than trying to make

them go away as quickly as possible.

And another element that's often described

in mindfulness practices is curiosity.

So, or interest.

If we can get really interested, what does

interest or curiosity itself feel like?

Does that feel unpleasant like a craving?.

No, curiosity actually feels good.

So we can start to flip the valence

from unpleasant craving to, oh,

oh, oh, what does this feel like?

And we can actually start to be with these

sensations as they come and go and see

that they're not, they don't last forever.

They're not permanent.

And they're just these sensations

that we've become identified with.


So I'm, I'm so glad that you brought

up as well, that, you know, that these

teachings have been around for so long.

And this is something, I think something

that I've often noticed when I speak to

people about something like addictive

urges, it feels very personal and

there's a lot of shame and a lot

of, but you're not alone in this.

This is something really fundamental

about the human experience, so we're

just learning how we can come into

more wise relationship with it.



I would even say that, you know, we all

fall somewhere on this addictive spectrum.

So if you think of addiction, the

far end of addiction being continued

use despite adverse consequences.

So when we're so caught up in something

that we're continuing to do it, we're

eating that fifth cookie, even though we

know it's going to give us a stomach ache.

You know, this is how we learn.

This spectrum is how we learn.

And it was probably set up so

we'd remember where food is.

That's probably how

our brains were set up.

But on every end of the spectrum is, you

know, we learn to form a habit around

tying our shoes, or we learn, if you think

of the caught upness, you know, we get

caught up in daydreaming all the time.

Who doesn't get caught up in a daydream.

So you can think of daydreaming being

that temporary caught upness, stress

being something that's a little more

caught up and then addiction being

so caught up that we're doing all

these crazy things, knowing that we

can't, that it's not good for us.

And yet no, that we can't stop.



On your, the CravingToQuit website,

for those of you out there that

CravingToQuit is an app that Jud

has created to help in a time when

you're actually experiencing an urge.

You can use this app to kind of help you

be guided through that with mindfulness.

But on the, on the website, you

wrote that every substance abuse from

tobacco to crack cocaine affects the

same brain pathways, the mesolimbic

pathway that mainly acts through

the neurotransmitter dopamine.

And every single time we do a line of

cocaine or we feel a high from it, a

cigarette when we're stressed out and

then we use the cigarette to feel better

afterwards, we reinforce that habit loop.

So this is something that I really

want to just kind of make clear here.

So every time we give into an urge,

we make the addiction stronger.

Is that true?


So every drug of abuse that's known

to humans, whether it's alcohol,

cigarettes, cocaine, heroin, all of

those, in one way or another effect,

the dopamine system, increasing the

amount of dopamine in our brain.

So is it true then also that with

mindfulness and what you're teaching

that each time we don't play out the

addiction that we weaken, we don't play

out the urge, we weaken the addiction?

Certainly behaviourally we do.

We haven't looked at the neurochemical

level to see how it affects the

dopamine system particularly.

We found that there are certain brain

regions that are involved in kind of

getting caught up in our experience

that are associated with cravings

and with addictions are affected by

mindfulness training, in particular.

We found this in experienced meditators

and whatnot, but we've also found

behaviourally that, that people can

have cravings and that mindfulness helps

them break that link between having a

craving and automatically acting on it.

And that it literally breaks, they

can have a craving be with it and

not act on it by smoking or whatever.


So it's more that it's maybe, maybe the

cravings might still come, but they're

just not really that much of a problem.

Over time, you get more and more skillful

at just going well, it's just a craving.

I can, and I can make a conscious choice

about how I'd like to respond rather

than just play it out unconsciously.


And I just want to highlight one piece of

that is it's not that we're cognitively

saying, oh, that's just a craving.

I don't have to act on that.

You know, if we could do that cognitively,

then we would do it every time.

But it's really, it's really

about two pieces of this.

One is seeing that these cravings are

just body sensations that we can be with.

And the second piece being that when

we really pay attention to the results

of our actions, to those rewards that

we're getting, when we see that they're

not that helpful, we naturally start

to become disenchanted with them.

So for example, with smoking,

people realize that smoking

actually doesn't taste very good.

And so they're naturally moved,

their motivation is heightened

to stop smoking cause they're

like, well, why am I doing this?


We see the same thing now where we

have an eating program now, where

we're using the same practices to

help people learn the rewards that

they're getting from stress eating as

well as learning to ride them out in

very much the same way as the smoking

cessation program, because guess what?

Sugar releases dopamine

just like cocaine does.

I love that you, I love that you

brought up too, that there's, there's

obvious crave, there's obvious

behaviors that we think about when

we think about addiction, right?

There's Facebook and there's, you know,

alcohol and hard drugs and shopping

and sex and all of these that we

think, you know, that's what we think

about when we think about addiction.

But it's striking to me that we,

yes, there's the obvious stuff, but

it seems like human life in general

is characterized for many of us by

a constant sense of wanting more.

Like if the voice of craving could have

a voice, it would say I need something

more than what I have in this moment.

So it seems to me that there is a, that

this is one of, this is not just the

obvious stuff that we're working with

- something much deeper about human lives.

So when I was 19 years old, I worked in a

nursing home as a diversional therapist,

and I was working with people that

were getting to the end of their days.

And, and so pervasive is this part

of human life that many of them felt

really, really disillusioned and

disappointed by the fact that they

had lived their lives as a means to an

end instead of really soaking it up.

And they urged me not to

make the same mistake.

So I feel like, you know, you just

spoke about before, how the Buddha

said something, you know, I think

he's attributed to saying, you

know, that the root of all suffering

is the attachment to craving.

So what do you, what do you,

what are your thoughts on that?

What are your comments on that?

Well, I agree and our data tend to

support that where, you know, that every

time we get caught up in a craving,

we perpetuate that habit loop cycle.

And, you know, it's endless.

So the early Buddhist psychologists

described it in terms of,

they used the term Samsara.


Which literally when translated

means endless wandering.


And so I wonder if the folks that

you're describing from the nursing

home, you know, at the end of their

life, they'd realized that they

had been endlessly wandering and

were urging you to stop wandering.

Now it's interesting somewhere, and

this probably has happened, you know,

throughout humanity, but somebody

described to me that somewhere in

Shakespearian times, the excitement was

started becoming equated with happiness.

And you can think about this in terms

of how these, this endless wandering

it's perpetuated in our daily lives

now where we're constantly bombarded

by advertisements that say, you

know, you're not enough, or you could

have more of this, or, you know,

increase your desire or whatever.

That's based on this notion of this,

this excited, you know this excitement

being happiness, whether we're on

a rollercoaster, eating chocolate,

having sex, whatever, and not stepping

back and saying, you know, is there

actually a greater level of happiness

that's not based on this treadmill.

And when we step back and just rest in

being rather than doing, we start to

see, oh, this is actually pretty good.

And even in a, if you want to bring

it back to psychology, you know, in a

Skinnerean sense, and so this guy, BF

Skinner is famous for these Skinner

boxes, where you put a rat in a, in a

box that's this color versus this color.

And then you shock them in this box.

So suddenly it becomes more painful

to be in this box than this one.

So they prefer this box over this one.

Well in the same way, if we only know

happiness as being excitement and

suddenly we realize there's another

box such as peace and joy, and just

an awareness where we're not caught

up in things, we can start to find

the situations and the conditions

that support this as compared to this.


It seems like it, it seems like a

strange paradox in a human mind to

say that finding a deeper level of

fulfillment means actually stopping

the seeking because we so strongly

associate the seeking to the happiness.

But yeah, I think that that was the

Buddha's really great insight back then.

Wasn't it?

It was actually, you could get

off the treadmill if you want,

and actually find out for yourself

by going within and just resting.

That there is a deeper level that

actually happiness isn't kind of,

I don't even the word happiness

is a kind of, I think fulfillment

resonates more with me, a deeper sense

of fulfillment that you can have by

just resting in your own beingness.


And you can, even in that sense, you

can, we can even start to differentiate

the type of seeking that most of us

are conditioned to do, which often

is described as sensation seeking.

Like looking, you know, looking for

something novel, looking for something

new, looking for more looking for

this as compared to the seeking that

many of us have that's like, oh, this,

this isn't quite doing it for me.

So that's when we start turning

inward and that seeking becomes

a more of an exploration, and

again, a curiosity, a question.

And those answers come from not

getting, but just noticing how our

minds work and resting in what is

as you're, as you're describing.

And you're saying that the research,

that the current research out there also

supports that what we're saying here?

There's a lot of research, and

it's still pretty early stages,

so there's nothing definitive.

So I'll just speak a little bit to

some of the research that we've done

and some of the work that's been

replicated, because I think it's

important to be able to replicate

results to know if they're they're real.

There seems to be, for example,

a brain region that's associated

with kind of getting caught up.

So when we get caught up in excitement

or get caught up in anger or

rumination or craving, there's this

brain region called the posterior

cingulate cortex that gets activated.

And the same brain region gets

deactivated when we are concentrated on

our in breath awareness, doing loving

kindness meditation, choices awareness,

you know, just an open awareness and

even during curiosity or different

Christian contemplative practices.

So it seems that there's a

common element here where this

getting caught up in experience.

Now the opposite happens when we

are getting out of our own way, if

you want to think of it that way.

When we're not caught up in that

excitement and just resting in a

more of a boundarylessness where

there's just awareness, just being.

Even it's hard, it's hard to

describe because it's not about me.

It's not about the self.

It's not about any of that, you

know, that taking things personally.

It's just being deeply in touch

with the unfolding present moment.

So I'd love if, if you could actually

walk us through, give us a kind of a

simulation as if we had an urge right

now in this moment, and maybe some people

watching do have an urge in this moment.

So congratulations if you do.

Because you have a four-part

process, don't you a four-part way

of guiding people using mindfulness

through an urge, the RAIN process.

Would you be able to give us

a taste of what that's like?

Sure, sure.

And this was, I think, first

attributed to Michelle McDonald,

who's a Western Vipassana teacher

or an insight meditation teacher.

And we've modified it slightly based

on some of the Burmese teachings.

But basically it's the

four, the acronym is RAIN.

So, and I can, so what's your favorite

sugar sweetened thing that you

might have an urge for when you are

stressed out or something like that?

Or maybe that doesn't happen...

Oh, it happens.

It happens.

So what's your pick?

We can use that object,

so give me an example.

For me, it's dark chocolate.

So I don't have a huge sweet

tooth, but dark chocolate.

Okay, good.

Well, dark chocolate is a good

one because anything above 70%

is considered a health food.

But yeah, well if you tell

yourself that, that's dangerous.

You see, that's what I found.

You tell yourself it's a health food,

and then you can eat more apparently.

That's what my mind said.


So let's say, let's say that we,

hypothetically speaking, we've

had a rough day and we come home

and we're tired and our, you know,

it just does not feel very good.

And so, you know, we're not really

hungry, but our brain says, you know,

why don't I eat some dark chocolate?

And so, you know, we see this chocolate,

we look at the chocolate, it looks at us.

We may have, it's like

we have this connection.

It says, you know, and I say,

yes, you are, you are what I need.

So at that moment, we

start to get enchanted.

It's like the chocolate is playing

its little soothsayer, you know,

the pipe or whatever to us.

And we start getting

enchanted, oh chocolate.

Yes, that's what I need.

In that moment, the first thing that we

need to do is recognize that we're caught

up in that craving, because if we can't

recognize it, we're going to just go along

in that trance and eat the chocolate.

We might eat one, two, nibs

or eat the whole bar without

even paying much attention it.

So we have to recognize,

that's what the R stands for.

And I even suggest that we relax

into it because this isn't about like

forcing ourselves not to do things.

It's just about like, okay,

this is what my brain is doing.

This is what my mind is doing.

So let's have fun with this.

The next step is the A, which is

to allow or accept or acknowledge

that this craving is there.

So typically cravings are unpleasant.

So we want them to go as quickly as

possible and we'll say, okay, craving.

What do I, what do I do?

What do I need to do?

Just tell me what I need to do.

And it says, eat the chocolate.

So we say, okay, you know.

So instead of just, you know, downing

the chocolate to make that craving

go away or trying to like stuff that

craving into our closet, we just

step back and allow it to be there.

Like, okay, this is what's happening.

And that's really helpful because

we can't get intimate with our

cravings if we tell them to stand

on the other side of the room.


You stay over there.

I'll stay over here.

We'll be cool, okay.

We don't know what the craving's

like, so how can we work with

if it, if it's way over there,

if we're kind of suppressing it.

So really we have to allow it to be there.

The next step is where it gets really fun.

So the I is for investigate.

So instead of pushing that

craving away, we say, okay, What's

happening in my body right now?

And we get really curious.

It's like we put on our Sherlock Holmes

cap and we pull out our magnifying glass

and we just start looking just by noticing

whatever the sensations are in our body.

The key with the investigation

is to get curious.

Oh, what does this feel like?

And then the N, which is often described,

described as non identification,

as a not taking things personally.

We've simplified that in a sense

that just simply noting whatever body

sensations are present in any one moment.

So we might note that there's

tightness and then the next

moment there's the tension.

And then there's, my mouth's watering

because I'm thinking about that chocolate

or my shoulders are slightly tight.

So I just start noticing, oh, there's

this now there's this now there's this,

now there's this from moment to moment

as I notice what my body sensations

are that are making up that craving.

And in that sense, if I can follow

the algorithm, R-A-I-N, so recognize,

allow it to be there, get curious by

investigating and noting it, I can

start to see, oh, these are just body

sensations that are driving my life.

They come and go, they come and go.

And I don't have to actually

get sucked into them.

So that disenchantment, kind of

that spell of ebchantment is broken.

So when, with the noting, would you,

would you kind of maybe even stand

there, you don't really have to close

your eyes, but would you, you would

stand there and actually mentally

say to yourself, ah, tightness in

the belly, ah, heart's racing, ah.

You know that, so you would actually

kind of step through and, and mentally

note every, just the raw body sensations

that you're feeling in that moment.


And by doing that, there's

a deep personalization.

You suddenly realize, oh, it's

not this craving for chocolate.

It's actually this sensation,

that sensation, this sensation.

Right, right.

In that sense, you can think of like,

whatever these sensations are, and this

is us, they've taken us for a ride.

But if we note, oh, this sensation,

tightness, tension, burning, suddenly

there's just this and awareness of this.

And by definition, by observing it, we're

already changing our relationship to it.

So we start to see that there's space to

respond rather than just being sucked in.


So that just reminded me of that, that

famous Viktor Frankl quote, what is it?

There's a space in between

stimulus and response.

And in that space lies

our power and our freedom.

So this is really what we're doing

here, opening up a space for that

power and freedom to make choices.



Well, that's where freedom comes is

when we're not sucked into our habits.


And the, so the CravingToQuit app, if

people want to actually be guided by

you through those in real time in those

moments, in the CravingToQuit app,

they can, they can use it like that.

You will actually walk them through the

RAIN process whenever they have an urge?.

Yes, we have in both of our apps,

so the CravingToQuit app and the

EatRightNow app, which is more

focused on things like chocolate.

Yep, I have to get that one.

We have a, we have a button in

there called the 'want to' meter.

So anytime I want, you know, like I'm

craving a cigarette or in the eating app,

I'm craving a chocolate, then I can click

on there and I can see, it first walks

me through how strong is that craving.

So I drop in and start to notice,

oh, this is how strong my craving is.

And then from there it can walk me

through the RAIN exercise so I can

really pay attention and ride it out.

Now, alternatively, because for

example, we all have to eat to live.

You know, if I'm really trying to

change my relationship to eating

and not getting sucked into stress

eating, we also have in the EatRightNow

program, mindful eating exercises.

So people can stop and start to really

pay attention as they consume that food.

Because, you know, they might

actually be hungry, which is slightly

different than cigarettes because

we don't need cigarettes to survive.

But both of the apps have that

RAIN exercise in them so people can

really, really have the tools and

learn these skills so that then they

don't even need the apps anymore.

It's more of a skill generating process.

Oh, great.

So I just have one more question

for you before we close up.

And, and that is, if you could go back now

with everything that you know now, all the

knowledge and wisdom that you've developed

through your practice over the past 20

years, and you could go back and give

your former self that was just sitting

on the cushion for the first time just

one piece of advice, what would that be?

I would say, notice what you're

actually getting from your habits.

Pay attention and just see what you're

actually getting from what you're doing.

That's what I would tell myself.

And I still tell myself.

Oh, cool.

Thank you so much, Jud.

Is there anything else that you

would like to share with our viewers

before you, before we close up?

I don't think so.

I think I'll just say, you know, folks

are interested in playing with some of

these practices, whether your addiction

is smoking or eating or anything in

between, you know, you can play, we make

some of these, the versions of our apps,

you know, available for people to try

them out for free for a couple of days.

So I would just say, you know, the

CravingToQuit or the EatRightNow

programs give people a chance to start

to play with some of these practices.

Jud Doug, thank you so much for your time.

I really appreciate it.

I really enjoyed this conversation.

Oh my pleasure.

Thank you.

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The Mindfulness Summit  null Playlist · 23 tracks

The Mindfulness Summit

Playlist · 23 tracks4.9

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