TED Talk: A Simple Way to Break a Bad Habit


When I was first learning to meditate, the instruction was to simply pay attention to my breath, and when my mind wandered, to bring it back.

Why is it so hard to pay attention? Well, studies show that even when we’re really trying to pay attention to something — like maybe this talk — at some point, about half of us will drift off into a daydream, or have this urge to check our Twitter feed.

Instead of this hunger signal coming from our stomach, this emotional signal — feeling sad — triggers that urge to eat.

What if instead of fighting our brains, or trying to force ourselves to pay attention, we instead tapped into this natural, reward-based learning process?

And this is what mindfulness is all about: Seeing really clearly what we get when we get caught up in our behaviours.

We start to notice that cravings are simply made up of body sensations — oh, there’s tightness, there’s tension, there’s restlessness.

Word Meanings

  • Mind-wandering – to think about past memories or future worries
  • Drift off – To float away gently (a boat, your mind…)
  • Urge – The strong feeling of desire to do something without thought
  • Trigger – Something that causes something else to happen
  • To tap into – To find the hidden ability inside yourself or something else
  • To get caught up in – To get distracting by doing something
  • To crave – When your body wants something
  • Restlessness – The feeling of being impatient and unable to stay still

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3 thoughts on “#5 English Learning Mindfulness”

  1. Hi Michael. Meditation/mindfulness – it’s sounds very interesting, but I don’t know do I can handle it. My mind never stops thinking, I have hundred thoughts a minute..

  2. Hi Michael!
    I have listened your pod cast! Now I have started to listen your pod cast orderly☺️
    I usually listen in the morning as soon as I get up.
    I have a question.. when I listen another English pod cast sometimes it is hard to understand..
    while it is easy to understand your podcast..
    🥺 what is the my problem you think? ..
    And then I used to learn English with funny
    But these days it is hard.. Many people go through a hard time such as slump ..
    I would like to hear how to overcome when you get slump!
    Thank you so much❤️❤️

    1. Hi Hanna. Thanks so much for listening! Great to hear that the podcast is now a part of your day.
      What you’re experiencing is totally natural! I have the same things in the languages I’m learning. Partly it’s because we get used to one voice and one way of talking, but in reality, there are so many different accents and voices that take time to get used to. Also, my accent is fairly standard and I don’t speak too fast. Because I’m a teacher, I think about how I’m saying things a lot. Other podcasts might use more slang and casual phrases for example.

      Regarding the slump, I believe I’ve spoke before about making learning fun. (You can search all episodes here: https://www.levelupenglish.school/allepisodes/)

      You could consider making a change to your routine! Rather than doing what you think you should do, think about what you could add to make learning as exciting as possible! Even if it’s just watching lots of TV, I think that’s better than forcing yourself to read a big grammar book!

      Good luck!

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