188. Unwinding Anxiety with Judson Brewer

Anxiety can be an exhausting cycle. When you worry, you have a false sense of control and a feeling that you are “doing something” about what you fear, but it only leads to more anxiety and stress in the long term. In this episode Diana sits down with Dr. Jud Brewer, neuroscientist and author of Unwinding Anxiety, for a second time! They explore a fresh, science-backed perspective on anxiety. According to Dr. Jud, anxiety is a habit loop, and there are simple strategies to break the cycle. Listen in for some practical advice on how to unwind your anxiety today!

Listen and Learn:

  • How Diana and Debbie approach anxiety from an ACT perspective
  • Some of the intricacies of exposure-based therapy with ACT
  • Why Dr. Jud dedicated his book to the “Amazon addict” 
  • About Dr. Jud’s  model of anxiety as a habit loop
  • The three gears to shift out of anxiety and how it is linked to reward-based learning 
  • What to do when all you can think about are your worries
  • How to identify the point of diminishing return and form new habit loops (and what both of those things are!)
  • Practical advice on working with curiosity amidst anxiety
  • Jud’s research-backed wisdom on when (and if) anxiety improves your performance
  • Dr. Jud’s personal experience with anxiety 
  • Jud’s hopes for the future in helping people with anxiety
book cover unwinding anxiety


About Jud Brewer:

Dr. Jud Brewer is an internationally renowned addiction psychiatrist and neuroscientist. Dr. Jud is the director of research and innovation at the Mindfulness Center and associate professor in psychiatry at the School of Medicine at Brown University, as well as the executive medical director of behavioral health at Sharecare. His most recent book is Unwinding Anxiety: New Science Shows How to Break the Cycles of Worry and Fear to Heal Your Mind.

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Join the discussion

  • Thank you so much for your tireless research and commitment to bringing people the best approaches to mental health wellbeing. It is refreshing to hear a psychiatrist willing to step outside of the medical model in a meaningful way.

    I’m looking forward to trying out your apps and hopefully recommending them to my friends and clients.

    I felt unconfortable hearing about the animal experimentation and the torture these animals were/are put through.

    I feel that when animals are treated in this was we are at an impasse. If they are so alike us that we can learn about our own psychology then, from my point of view, this renders the experiment unethical. If they are not, it renders it unhelpful.

    Thank you for taking the time to listen to my thoughts.

    Once again, thank you so much for your work.

    • Thank you, Elizabeth, for your comment. We appreciate your perspective on animal research and hearing your clear values behind ending animal experimentation.

      Take Care,
      The POTC team

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Episode 188