You may think of anxiety as a reaction, a feeling, or a disorder. My guest today says that perhaps the best way to think about anxiety, especially if you want to treat it effectively, is as a habit.
His name is Dr. Judson Brewer, and he's a psychiatrist and neuroscientist, and the author of Unwinding Anxiety: New Science Shows How to Break the Cycles of Worry and Fear to Heal Your Mind . Dr. Jud and I begin our conversation with what anxiety is, and how it gets connected into a habit loop that can lead to other maladaptive behaviors like drinking, overeating, and worrying. Dr. Jud then explains how to hack the anxiety habit loop by mapping it out, disenchanting your anxiety-driven behaviors, and giving your brain "a bigger, better offer" by getting curious about your anxiety. We also talk about why asking why you're anxious is not part of this process, and end our conversation with how this habit-based approach to behavior change can also work for things like depression and anger.Resources Related to the Podcast
- AoM Podcast #497: The Meaning, Manifestations, and Treatments for Anxiety
- AoM Podcast #614: Get Out of Your Mind and Into Your Life
- AoM article, podcast, and video on hacking the habit loop
- AoM article on asking "what" instead of "why"
- Undoing Depression by Richard O'Connor