A simple way to break a bad habit | Judson Brewer

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When I was first learning to meditate,

the instruction was to simply pay attention to my breath,

and when my mind wandered, to bring it back.

Sounded simple enough.

Yet I'd sit on these silent retreats,

sweating through T-shirts in the middle of winter.

I'd take naps every chance I got because it was really hard work.

Actually, it was exhausting.

The instruction was simple enough

but I was missing something really important.

So why is it so hard to pay attention?

Well, studies show

that even when we're really trying to pay attention to something --

like maybe this talk --

at some point,

about half of us will drift off into a daydream,

or have this urge to check our Twitter feed.

So what's going on here?

It turns out that we're fighting one of the most evolutionarily-conserved

learning processes currently known in science,

one that's conserved