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Dr. Judson Brewer is a thought leader in the field of habit change and the “science of self-mastery”, having combined nearly 20 years of experience with mindfulness training with his scientific research therein. He is the Director of Research at the Center for Mindfulness and associate professor in Medicine and Psychiatry at UMass Medical School. He is also adjunct faculty at Yale University, and a research affiliate at MIT.

He’s at ground-zero when it comes to using science to explain how mindfulness is working —

A psychiatrist and internationally known expert in mindfulness training for addictions, Brewer has developed and tested novel mindfulness programs for habit change, including both in-person and app-based treatments (e.g., He has also studied the underlying neural mechanisms of mindfulness using standard and real-time fMRI.

He is the author of The Craving Mind: from cigarettes to smartphones to love, why we get hooked and how we can break bad habits.

For me, this was a fantastic conversation about his journey toward mastery — and his very applied insights on applying good science to upgrade or enhance the habits that get you closer to the man or woman that you’re working on becoming.

“Awareness is the basis for both learning good habits, but also letting go of habits that don’t help us.”

In This Episode:

  • Finding himself relating to those who are underdogs in society
  • Going to Princeton for undergrad and initially planning to become a chemist
  • Picking up meditation after breaking off his engagement
  • Debating whether to fully invest in professional aspirations vs. having children
  • Getting curious about what drives fear
  • How to rid yourself of bad habits
  • The tactics to increase awareness
  • Why rewards guides behavior
  • The relationship between triggers and habit formation
  • Leveraging extrinsic vs. intrinsic motivations in a reward system
  • The conditions that create flow
  • Kindness as the habit that matters most to him


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