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This event was part of Reimagine Events

Let’s Experience: Cultivating Mindfulness to Transform Unhealthy Habits

Hosted by Reimagine

In this workshop, author and meditation teacher Hugh Byrne, PhD will explore the fascinating area of habit formation and change, and the role mindfulness plays in helping us develop healthy and beneficial habits and let go of unhelpful or unwanted ones.

Hugh Byrne, PhD guides workshop participants in experiential practices of mindfulness and self-compassion to help bring into awareness habits that have become unconscious, automatic, and difficult to change. We will learn, both cognitively and through direct experience, the role that mindfulness plays in letting go of unwanted habits and developing more helpful ones. Leading with kindness, acceptance and non-judgment, we will take time for sharing, questions, and inviting intentions that we can bring back into our daily lives.

Almost all of us have habits we’d like to change—behaviors we’d like to end, like smoking or getting angry a lot—or to develop—such as starting a yoga or meditation practice or eating healthy foods. We might already have tried, and found that habits can be difficult to change.

This is because, once they get established through repetition over time, habits are governed by the ancient part of our human brain rather than the more recently developed, pre-frontal cortex. Habitual behaviors become automatic and unconscious—think about putting on a seat-belt when you get in a car—and less accessible to our intentions to make change.

The good news is that even entrenched habits can be changed by bringing the behavior and its triggers into awareness: Mindfulness, or conscious, non-judging awareness, is key to making what has become unconscious conscious. We can then choose to make change. Without awareness, we remain unconscious and a prisoner of our habits.

Please bring some paper and a writing instrument.

Hugh Byrne, PhD, has practiced mindfulness meditation for more than three decades and been teaching Buddhist and secular mindfulness since 2000. Hugh is trained in Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) and Somatic Experiencing, a mind-body approach to healing trauma. He worked for more than two decades in the fields of human rights and social justice. Hugh is a senior meditation teacher with the Insight Meditation Community of Washington and leads classes, retreats, and workshops in the United States and internationally. He is the author of two books on mindfulness and habit change: The Here-and-Now Habit (2016) and Habit Swap (2020) and has a law degree from London University and a PhD in political science from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA).

About Reimagine and the Series "Addiction, Harmful Habits, and Healing"

Reimagine is a nonprofit organization catalyzing a uniquely powerful community–people of different backgrounds, ages, races, and faiths (and no faith) coming together in the hopes of healing ourselves and the world. We specifically support each other in facing adversity, loss, and mortality and–at our own pace– actively channeling life's biggest challenges into meaningful action and growth.

Most of us have unhealthy habits – repetitive actions and practices that we know we should stop but are difficult to give up. Some bad habits are mild, and some are severe. Many of us must also deal with addiction. Unlike poor habits, addictions are complex diseases that can take control of our behavior, destroy interpersonal relationships, harm entire societies, and most often require treatment and lifestyle changes to manage.

What are the root causes of harmful habits, negative behavior patterns, and addictions? What kinds of losses do people with addictions and their caregivers experience? How can we support loved ones whose grief over addiction cannot be fully expressed due to stigma and shame? How can we create more space to process the collective grief of the opioid epidemic and other related public health crises? What tools and resources lead to transformation and lasting change?

In this three-part series, speakers from various fields – neuroscience, psychiatry, art, mindfulness, and spirituality – address the harmful effects of food, alcohol, drugs, and gambling and identify pathways toward love, health, and healing.


Workshop Meditation
Caregiving Grief Healthcare Science Social Justice & Race