“If you had to strip everything else away in terms of the utility of helping people change bad habits, I would keep curiosity as the last thing.”
~ Judson Brewer
Curiosity as a way to break bad habits and disrupt addiction? Really? Yes, absolutely, says Dr. Jud Brewer, director of research at Brown University’s Mindfulness Center.
This conversation is all about the thrilling intersection of brain imaging, mindfulness, meditation and curiosity in service of our health. Pretty cool stuff.
Listen to Choose to be Curious #56: Curiosity & the Craving Mind, with Dr. Judson Brewer
Six more things that stuck with me from my conversation with Jud:
Curiosity is joyful, very experiential – it’s hard to put words on it! The drive “I have to know” doesn’t really get at the essence of curiosity — getting caught up is the opposite of curiosity. Curiosity is much more open.
Curiosity shows up in early Buddhist teaching as a “factor of awakening.”
Just be with what is happening. That being can change things around us. By being curious, we just rest in being — and that pleasant feeling of curiosity is more rewarding than giving into cravings.
The posterior cingulate cortex of the brain gets really active when we get caught up in something; it deactivates when we meditate and when we’re curious. That activation happens when we’re contracted, curiosity is the opposite.
Curiosity extends to ethical conduct. We can be curious: what’s it like when I’m a jerk? Curiosity can drive us in the direction of living a good life.
“Curiosity, that’s pretty good stuff. I want to keep smoking that.”
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