In his talk on mindfulness, Judson Brewer offers a simple strategy to get rid of a bad habit. The psychiatrist explains the role evolution plays and how the human brain reacts to positive and negative reinforcement. A process that originally enabled the species to survive now leads to people making choices that kill, when you consider emotional eating, obesity and smoking cigarettes.
When someone knows cognitively that a particular behavior is an unhealthy one, but they still cannot break the bad habit, the speaker suggests being aware of how the body reacts when the action is performed. The talk on mindfulness emphasizes how curiosity can be used to support lifestyle changes.
This research is being used to fuel a smartphone app designed to help people quit smoking.