Rewire: Change Your Brain to Break Bad Habits, Overcome Addictions, Conquer Self-Destructive Behavior

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We humans tend to get in our own way time and time again?whether it comes to not speaking up for ourselves, going back to bad romantic partners, dieting for the umpteenth try, or acting on any of a range of bad habits we just can?t seem to shake. In Rewire, renowned psychotherapist Richard O?Connor, PhD, reveals exactly why our bad habits die so hard. We have two brains?one a thoughtful, conscious, deliberative self, and the other an automatic self that makes most of our decisions without our attention. Using new...

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Rewire: Change Your Brain to Break Bad Habits, Overcome Addictions, Conquer Self-Destructive Behavior

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We humans tend to get in our own way time and time again—whether it comes to not speaking up for ourselves, going back to bad romantic partners, dieting for the umpteenth try, or acting on any of a range of bad habits we just can’t seem to shake. In Rewire, renowned psychotherapist Richard O’Connor, PhD, reveals exactly why our bad habits die so hard. We have two brains—one a thoughtful, conscious, deliberative self, and the other an automatic self that makes most of our decisions without our attention. Using new research and knowledge about how the brain works, the book clears a path to lasting, effective change for behaviors that include:

  • Procrastination
  • Overeating
  • Chronic disorganization
  • Staying in bad situations
  • Excessive worrying
  • Risk taking
  • Passive aggression
  • Self-medication
Bringing together many different fields in psychology and brain science, Dr. O’Connor gives you a road map to overcoming whatever self-destructive habits are plaguing you, with exercises throughout the book. We can rewire our brains to develop healthier circuitry, training the automatic self to make wiser decisions without having to think about it; ignore distractions; withstand temptations; see ourselves and the world more clearly; and interrupt our reflexive responses before they get us in trouble. Meanwhile, our conscious minds will be freed to view ourselves with compassion at the same time as we practice self-discipline. By learning valuable skills and habits—including mindfulness, self-control, confronting fear, and freeing yourself from mindless guilt—we can open ourselves to vastly more successful, productive, and happy lives. The book even demystifies how to overcome what Dr. O’Connor calls the “undertow” (the mysterious force that sabotages our best efforts when we’re just on the edge of victory) for long-lasting change. Offering a valuable science-based new paradigm for rewiring our brains, Rewire is a refreshing guide to becoming a healthier, happier self.
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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble

Overeating; passive aggression; staying in bad relationships; binge drinking; self-medication; procrastination; risk taking; chronic worrying: All of us want to stop indulging in our worst behaviors, but even once banished, our bad habits crawl back and resume control. According to psychotherapist and author Richard O'Connor (Undoing Depression; Happy at Last), our lack of success isn't because we're weak-willed; it's because we have two brains. One, of course, is the conscious, thoughtful brain that appears to rule the day. The other, though less ruminative, is no less potent: It is the automatic brain that takes charge most of the time. In Rewire, Dr. O'Connor sets out to show how cutting-edge research about how the brain really works can help us change our worst habits in the most effective possible way.

From the Publisher
Rewire gives readers the tools to understand their bad habits and change their lives for the better. This highly practical book offers compelling and measured advice on how to change behaviors and improve lives.”—Jeffrey M. Schwartz, MD, author of You Are Not Your Brain and Brain Lock

Rewire is essential reading for people and clinicians trying to improve their own life and the lives of everyone around them. Fascinating and powerful advice on ending negative thoughts and behaviors and improving your brain."—Andrew Newberg, MD, author of Words Can Change Your Brain

Kirkus Reviews
A self-help manual for those who wish to overcome destructive behavioral patterns.Psychotherapist O'Connor (Undoing Depression: What Therapy Doesn't Teach You and Education Can't Give You, 2010, etc.) presents exercises to help readers overcome destructive behavior that has become habitual. He buttresses his claim by referencing Israeli-American psychologist Daniel Kahneman's thesis that there are two systems of thinking that govern our mental processes: The first is a rapid, automatic response, such as that used by an athlete in a high-pressure situation, and the second is a slower process of conscious reflection. "[O]ur choices and actions are much more influenced by unconscious processes than we feel comfortable admitting to ourselves," writes O'Connor. However, he differs from Kahneman, who "argues that self-control is of necessity an act of the conscious mind." O'Connor writes that "with time and repetition, it can become more and more a part of the automatic self, so that it becomes easier to practice." The author supports his contention by referencing research on the remarkable plasticity of the human brain, which can rewire its neural circuitry to compensate for brain injury. His proposed exercises include keeping a daily journal and practicing mindfulness meditations in order to suppress impulsive behavior. Others involve transforming social relationships through small steps—e.g. striving for honesty rather than accommodation, becoming self-assertive where appropriate—and he recommends strengthening will power by avoiding triggers—e.g., alcoholics should stay out of bars and avoid friends who act as enablers. If done regularly, these exercises can reveal habitual patterns of self-destructive behavior and play a part in removing the need "to distort our world through psychological defenses."A useful addition to the popular psychology shelf, although readers acquainted with self-help literature may find the exercises overly familiar.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781594632563
  • Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 7/31/2014
  • Pages: 304
  • Sales rank: 68,691
  • Product dimensions: 6.20 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 1.50 (d)

Meet the Author

Richard O'Connor, PhD, is the author of Undoing Depression, Undoing Perpetual Stress, and Happy at Last. For many years he was executive director of the Northwest Center for Family Service and Mental Health, a private, nonprofit mental health clinic serving Litchfield County, Connecticut, overseeing the work of twenty mental health professionals in treating almost a thousand patients per year. He is a practicing psychotherapist with offices in Connecticut and New York, and lives in Lakeville, Connecticut.

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Read an Excerpt

Each time we engage in a bad habit, we make it more likely we'll do it again in the future. But in the same way, each time we engage in a good habit, we make it more likely that we’ll do it again. You can learn to program your own brain so that making the right choices and exercising willpower comes to seem easy and natural.

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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Posted January 18, 2015

    A Worthwhile Read for Anyone Who Wants to Improve Their Life

    This book describes an amazing array of self-destructive behaviors and what causes them. Most self-destructive behavior is initiated by the brain's unconscious component and allowed by the brain's conscious component. To combat this situation one should practice Mindfulness, the ability to act logically instead of emotionally. Practicing Mindfulness Meditation is the easiest way to enter the state of Mindfulness and doing this regularly makes dealing with Self-destructive behavior a much easier task. I have followed this book's advice and am now living a much happier life.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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