Today I listened to a fascinating talk on mindfulness by Dr. Ellen Langer from Harvard University. Here are a few snippets:
Mindfulness is the simple act of actively noticing things.
If you live with somebody, notice five new things about that person. What will happen is the person will start to come alive for you again.
Our experience of everything is formed by the words and ideas we attach to them. Change the words and you will change the experience.
The placebo is a wonderful, wonderful drug. The placebo has cured a lot of people. It’s a very, very powerful medication. The placebo is unlocking your brain’s own pharmacy.
I think yoga is wonderful. I think running is wonderful. Once I decide that I’m going to start running because when I run, I’m going to be healthy, now I’m believing I’m being healthy… and that should translate into greater health. What I’m saying is many of these practices have a large placebo effect.
Events don’t cause stress. What causes stress are the views you take of events. [Epictetus]
Most things are an inconvenience, rather than a tragedy. Let me give you an example. Many years ago, I had a major fire that destroyed 80% of what I owned. And when I called the insurance company, and they came over the next day, the person, the insurance agent, said to me that this was the first call that he’d ever had where the damage was worse than the call. I thought, ‘Well, gee, you know, it’s already taken my stuff. Why give it my soul? You know — why pay twice?’ Which is what people so often do. Something happens, you have that loss, and then you’re going to now throw all your emotional energy at it and so you’re doubling up on the negativity.
I’m against compromise. The reason for that is because it’s an agreement for everybody to lose rather than finding the win/win solution, which is often out there.