BrainWise CPR – Simple Techniques to Break Bad Habits

Posted On: April 28, 2017

The March post shared examples of how BrainWise changes behaviors, and past newsletters presented data that show how BrainWise graduates have improved outcomes on measures of decision making and executive functions.

Dr. Judson Brewer
Dr. Judson Brewer

These successes would not surprise Dr. Judson Brewer.  Dr. Brewer’s research focuses on mindfulness training, a process he describes as teaching us how to focus on what is happening in our minds and bodies from moment to moment. He calls this experience “getting curious,” and says it helps us step out of “old, fear-based, reactive habits.”  His 2016 TED talk, “A Simple Way to Break a Bad Habit,” has been viewed more than 6 million times.

In BrainWise terms, he is talking about recognizing our Red Flag Warnings and then using Wizard Brain thinking to lower whatever emotions our problems trigger, including craving, anxiety, anger, excitement, and fear.  This awareness, which he calls a “step into being,” helps us manage our urges from moment to moment.  By breaking problems down and making them more manageable, they become easier to change.

He admits that this “might sound too simplistic to affect behavior,” but his lab research shows that “mindfulness training was twice as good as gold standard therapy at helping people quit smoking.” He has gone on to successfully apply the approach to a wide range of problem behaviors.

The reception to his work and presentation is exciting!  Likewise, BrainWise users learn how to replace Lizard Brain emotions and reactions with Wizard Brain responses, a similar technique that alters problem behaviors. By using BrainWise CPR (Marty put link to summary of BW CPR here), program graduates learn that Red Flag Warnings prepare them to access their Emotions Elevator.  This process helps them control the impulse to react because it makes them aware that what’s happening in their bodies is connected with their minds and how they react.

Emotions Elevator
Emotions Elevator

In addition, BrainWise graduates learn to make further connections with the prefrontal cortex when they use their support systems, apply strategies that help them lower their emotions elevators, separate facts from opinions, ask the right questions, identify all their choices and the consequences of their choices, and communicate effectively. These additional skills not only provide a simple way to break a bad habit, they also are easy techniques that help us make lasting changes to improve our lives.

So the next time your Red Flag Warnings fly and your emotions shoot up your Emotions Elevator, recognize what is happening, and step back.  Assess the situation by using the 10 Wise Ways.  And as was discussed last month, use BrainWise CPR problem-solving worksheets to practice applying your skills.  It won’t be long before you are making better choices.

Please follow and like us:

10 Wise Ways: A Foundation to Stop and Think

Everyone Has Problems. The New York Times published a nationwide survey in 2022 that they conducted with 362 school counselors. Ninety-four per cent of the counselors said their students were showing more signs of anxiety and depression than they did before the pandemic, 88 per cent stated that their students were having trouble with emotional regulation, and 72 […]

Read More »

Teens Use Games to Reinforce BrainWise in Dr. Seuss Stories with Elementary School Students

Career Education Center (CEC) high school teacher Stacey Hervey’s students have been involved since 2015 in community service projects with Denver Mile High Rotary as BrainWise teen mentors. (See issues #67, 41, 38 and 27.) This issue features Stacey’s students Jackie Reyes, Aa’ Janais Gaines, and Rachel Lopez and the exciting reinforcement tool they developed using Kahoots and Jeopardy (Issue 71). They created lessons that asked third […]

Read More »

BrainWise Live it! Reinforcing the 10 Wise Ways

I am new to our agency and want to teach BrainWise with fidelity. I run a weekly, one-hour, group session for eight weeks. How can I help participants effectively use the 10 Wise Ways?   This is a frequent request. BrainWise concepts may be easy to remember, but research found that more than 20 hours of practice are needed for the development […]

Read More »
error

Enjoy this blog? Please spread the word :)