Family Addiction Recovery: A Blog
Change is hard. We take it for granted that this is true, but we don’t always fully understand why it’s the case. The Unstuck team asked reporter Libby Copeland to investigate the science behind why we resist change. This is part one in a four-part series in which she shares what she learned.
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So many of us struggle to change careers, to leave a bad relationship, to go back to school. In my social circle, I can think of just two friends who are notably good at change; the rest (myself included) tend to freeze up when we consider breaking with the past in a significant way. Neuroscientist Dean Burnett’s new book, “Idiot Brain,” addresses the ways our brains trip us up. I asked him why humans might be wired to resist making changes even when we say we want them.
“In an evolutionary sense, the brain doesn’t like uncertainty. Anything uncertain is potentially a threat,” Burnett says.
In talking to experts in areas including psychology, neuroscience, and behavioral economics, I found four distinct categories that tend to hold us back from making changes. I’ll cover each in a separate post, starting with the prospect of uncertainty: why we appear wired to pay a lot of attention to it — and sometimes to dread it.
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Timothy Harrington is passionate about helping family members of the addicted loved one awaken to their own power and purpose.