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Train Your Mind to Break That Habit

An Interview with Hugh Byrne

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Most of us have unhealthy habits that we’d like to break. But it’s difficult because habits are the ways we think, feel, and act automatically and unconsciously. In his new book, The Here-and-Now Habit, meditation teacher Hugh Byrne says that mindfulness practices can help us break unhealthy habits by allowing us to see our thoughts and actions in the moment so that we can let go of old patterns and develop new ones. Byrne recently spoke with S&H about habit formation, different ways that mindfulness can help us change our habits, and how breaking unhealthy habits can ultimately lead to enlightenment.How do we form habits?When we do something frequently enough under consistent conditions, we form habits. The situation or context in which we do something—the time of day, place, who we’re with, what we’re feeling—triggers the brain to assign that behavior to brain processes that deal with automatic and habitual activities. When the behavior, or pattern of thinking, is repeated often enough—and this varies from person to person and from habit to habit—it is assigned to these faster acting and more …

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