Aspen Institute to focus on how to overcome cravings |

Aspen Institute to focus on how to overcome cravings

Neuroscientist and physicatrist Judson Brewer will talk addictions (and how to overcome them) at the Aspen Institute this evening from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m.
Courtesy photo |


Who: Judson Brewer, neuroscientist and addiction psychiatrist

What: The Aspen Institute Murdock Mind, Body, Spirit Series – “From Smartphones to Smoking: What Neuroscience Reveals About How We Get Hooked”

When: Friday (today), 6:30 to 7:30 p.m.

Where: Paepcke Auditorium at the Aspen Institute

Cost: $20

Note: The Aspen Institute requests that people carpool, walk, ride the bus or bike to the event, as parking is limited.

To purchase tickets, visit; for more information, visit

From smoking cigarettes to severe skin picking, no addiction is off the table when it comes to training people how to overcome them, according to Judson Brewer.

That’s because all addictions stem from the same type of habit formation, the neurologist said.

In his talk “From Smartphones to Smoking: What Neuroscience Reveals About How We Get Hooked,” the addiction psychiatrist will look at what ancient and modern science reveal about how people get hooked and what they can do about it. The talk begins at 6:30 p.m. at Paepcke Auditorium and is part of the Aspen Institute’s Murdock Mind, Body, Spirit Series.

In his work, Brewer focuses on what he refers to as “mindfulness training” for addictions.

Instead of addicts struggling to push away or fight against those strong cravings, Brewer said, mindfulness training teaches people to embrace that unpleasant feeling or sensation.

By welcoming this experience rather than opposing it, Brewer said that people are able to learn that cravings are merely “body sensations” and not moral imperatives.

“We get caught up in this concept that the craving is too big to handle,” he said. “But as (people) learn to pay attention to this, they see that they come and go, they don’t last forever and they’re not too big for them to handle.

“And each time they learn to ride a craving, its power over them weakens.”

Brewer encourages anyone looking to break any habit to attend his talk Friday.

“Bring your habit and we’ll discuss it,” he said.


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