Beware the Habit-Forming Brain!

How to tame your constant cravings by getting to know your brain better.

Ever wonder how your spouse developed that annoying habit of buying tools or kitchen gadgets they don’t need? Why do you check Facebook yet again when you just checked it 15 minutes ago? Or root around in the kitchen late at night, not really hungry but just wanting something?

No mystery. It’s simply how our brains work. We crave. We get. We remember. We crave again. It’s the craving cycle. If we can understand it, we have more of a chance of catching it in the act, and taking steps to make more considered choices. Let’s break down the process and figure out where we can make adjustments.

The Process

1. Our brain takes in data through our five senses or a thought. For example, you look at a selfie you took at the Eiffel Tower.

2. Based on similar experiences—and since we see the world through glasses we’ve manufactured—our brain interprets this as pleasant or unpleasant. “Liking this picture!”

3. If pleasant, our brain gets an itch or an urge: “Get me some more of that!” If unpleasant, it says, “Get this away from me!”

4. We do something to make the good stick around, or to make the…