Mindfulness & the power of thought [NPR]

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Mindfulness & the power of thought [NPR]

– Ellen Langer (Harvard Psychologist) – “the mother of mindfulness”
– Her research (since the 1970s) focuses upon benefits if paying attention with purpose
– & the psychological & professional costs of thought patterns that limit awareness
– mindfulness affects our health, our ability to learn & our overall well-being

Summary of key points from her interview, on The Diane Rehm Show, about being “mindful” & why it matters so much:
– mindfulness – is the art of noticing
– mindlessness is pervasive – most of us, most of the time “are not there”
– we are frequently in error, but we are in no doubt
– believes it is because we have been brought up to believe in facts – we no longer have to think about most things
– mindlessly thinking in one way only
– she believes an ordinary day should be no different to going on an overseas trip.
– curiosity / searching out novelty – the essence of engagement
– she notes that people can be “bored” in jobs they’ve had for 20 years, or feel the same in a marriage of the same length if time & yet, still approach their 20 year old child as being different because of the expectation of change/novelty
– when you are present, people respond to you better
– mindfulness & meditation – meditation is a tool to post-meditative presence
– stressed about something – we attack the thought (evidence for likelihood & severity)
– thought challenge & re-frame – thought no longer captures you as it once did
– mindfulness is not necessarily a practice, but rather “a way of being”
– believes people should engage with it regardless of who they are & wherever they are
– expecting change brings stability
– everything is changing [Buddhist leanings]
– incremental, small changes keeps you tuned in
– same inquisitiveness/same noticing in whatever you are doing
– “stress & boredom are in our heads” according to Langer
– feeling overwhelmed – break it down & there is so much that is familiar in what we believe is overwhelming
– making choices is the “essence of being mindful”
[mission/purpose; engagement; being present]
– medical model – disease only as a result of the introduction of an antigen – but psychology does matter; the medical fraternity now supports the efficacy & importance of mindfulness
– when you are mindful, you are present & people think they are being cared for
– mindfulness accepts (& does not struggle with) change in everything, including the people around you.
– allows you to notice change in yourself – life becomes more interesting
– don’t buy in the diagnosis
– engage in what you love
– being mindful (without meditation) – does not necessarily lead to dark emotions coming to the surface in the mind
– Shakespeare – things are not good or bad, it is thinking that makes it so.
– nature – & the social world – are both opportunities for mindfulness – I.e. to be less judgmental of others as well as ourselves
– a centred place – ask yourself – is this a tragedy or just an inconvenience?

Langer Mindfulness Institute.Com

Source: http://thedianerehmshow.org/shows/2014-12-01/ellen_langer_mindfulness_and_the_power_of_thought

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