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Простой способ побороть вредную привычку - A simple way to break a bad habit

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When I was first learning to meditate,
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the instruction was to simply pay attention to my breath,
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and when my mind wandered, to bring it back.
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Sounded simple enough.
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Yet I'd sit on these silent retreats,
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sweating through T-shirts in the middle of winter.
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I'd take naps every chance I got because it was really hard work.
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Actually, it was exhausting.
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The instruction was simple enough
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but I was missing something really important.
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So why is it so hard to pay attention?
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Well, studies show
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that even when we're really trying to pay attention to something --
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like maybe this talk --
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at some point,
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about half of us will drift off into a daydream,
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or have this urge to check our Twitter feed.
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So what's going on here?
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It turns out that we're fighting one of the most evolutionarily-conserved
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learning processes currently known in science,
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one that's conserved
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back to the most basic nervous systems known to man.
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This reward-based learning process
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is called positive and negative reinforcement,
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and basically goes like this.
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We see some food that looks good,
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our brain says, "Calories! ... Survival!"
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We eat the food, we taste it --
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it tastes good.
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And especially with sugar,
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our bodies send a signal to our brain that says,
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"Remember what you're eating and where you found it."
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We lay down this context-dependent memory
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and learn to repeat the process next time.
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See food,
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eat food, feel good,
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repeat.
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Trigger, behavior, reward.
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Simple, right?
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Well, after a while, our creative brains say,
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"You know what?
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You can use this for more than just remembering where food is.
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You know, next time you feel bad,
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why don't you try eating something good so you'll feel better?"
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We thank our brains for the great idea,
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try this and quickly learn
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that if we eat chocolate or ice cream when we're mad or sad,
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we feel better.
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Same process,
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just a different trigger.
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