Help your patients hack their brains
for better health


How to “hack” our habit-forming brains for better health.

Our brains are really good at learning, yet these days, this process can easily get hijacked by modern marvels such as refined sugar and the endless ‘to do’ list. This seminar will bring together the understanding of how our brains learn with how mindfulness works to show you how we can tap into our own minds to harness their power to make lasting and effective behavior change. Building on common clinical cases from part 1 (e.g. overeating), this seminar will lay out a 3-step process of behavior change that helps individuals move from automatic, habitual (re-)action to aware and healthy action. (25:54)

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9 thoughts on “Health Care Provider Course – Module 3”

  1. A clear and succinct approach for working with ingrained harmful habits so common in our practice. Brilliant! Many thanks for the contribution!!

  2. This is really great stuff. It’s affirming of my approach to treatment in my intensive outpatient program for co-occurring disorders. I’m interested if there will be other longitudinal on-line trainings for continuing education credit. This material is more valuable to me that any other CE classes I’ve ever taken.

  3. I’m pretty sure that I’m addicted to learning! The key takeaway here for me was how the brain doesn’t become habituated to curiosity, kindness and connection and there’s no negative consequences to these intrinsic rewards.

    A couple of points I note, which I wonder are relevant. You talk about how the increase in dopamine brings the anticipation and motivation towards the behaviour. Is it correct that if the reward doesn’t materialise, that dopamine is then suppressed having a counter-effect? Is this a relevant observation to this process? E.g. we really need to ensure that the reward happens ..

    Secondly, I recall a study that I came across last year about why insight feels good and how gaining insight triggers the reward system in the brain, so this would link to the insights we gain through curiosity.

  4. Interested to understand more about the difference between the reward curiosity and the like provide. If we don’t get habituated by them (and I wholeheartedly agree with this), then it sounds like this isn’t a dopamine-fueled reward. Where (in our brain) is its magic?

    • Great question. Curiosity is still in its infancy in terms of neuroscience research (just look at its wikipedia entry and it basically lists all parts of the brain which means nobody really has a good handle on it yet). My lab has found that the Default mode network is deactivated with curiosity, which fits with the open/expansive quality of the experience, but there is still a lot to discover about what is happening when we’re curious.

  5. Maybe it’s just me, but I find it difficult in the throws of a craving to even know what curiosity feels like. Just as we often have lists of emotions for patients to be able to name them, I wonder if it would be helpful to have a list of sensations to help develop curiosity? More than just tingling, clenching, tightness, numbness and others?

  6. Thank you so much. This is really eye-opening stuff (yes, even addictive)…even having long ago integrated mindfulness into my personal and professional practices.
    I hope this point isn’t too arcane, but the way you describe the memory-comparison function of the OFC I thought that was a function of the hippocampus. Do they work in a hierarchical relationships the way their relative systems, the limbic and the PFC often do? Thank you again for this fabulous learning opportunity.


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