Listening to this TED Talk from the context of Eating Psychology, I had 2 thoughts.
1. It makes perfect sense that our coping behaviors for stress begin when we are young, whether we start smoking to “look cool/fit in” or start overeating because our brain associates sugar/food with “feel better”… at least momentarily.
2. I was happy to see the approach to habit transformation mirror the work we do in Eating Psychology. The tried and failed effort to “force a change” or “just use more willpower” is a thing of the past, and science proves it. Cognitively knowing a behavior is not serving us is not enough to get us to change the behavior.
Instead, a mindfulness and curiosity approach is proving to be more effective. Meaning, instead of just trying to quit smoking, become more aware of exactly what the experience of smoking feels like… be present, aware and curious when you are actually doing it. You’ll see in this video what happens when people try this.
Are you a binge eater or over eater? Don’t take away the behavior for yourself. First of all, because it is a current coping mechanism, and for that reason, you are actually “right” for doing it. It’s not the PROBLEM… it’s the SOLUTION.
As paradoxical as it sounds, we need to relax into the fact that we have the unwanted behavior, and simply begin by noticing what triggers it, be curious about why we are choosing it, and be mindful of our ACTUAL feelings and thoughts while we are doing it. This is the path to authentically transforming any unwanted behavior.