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Ellen Langer on Stress

Mindset and mindfulness shape our reality. A few years ago, I heard an interview with Ellen Langer known as the "mother of mindfulness"  on the 25th anniversary of her book Mindfulness. Now before you start imagining Langer as a yoga instructor sitting in lotus pose in a silent retreat center, let me tell you that she's a Harvard professor and the first woman to be granted tenure there. There's academic research to prove that our mindset impacts our well-being.

Think about a swing. For most kids (and adults), swings are fun. It reminds us of carefree days in the park and that soothing motion of swinging back and forth. But that same swing could cause stress. Maybe you've fallen off of it or maybe the feeling of swinging too high makes you nervous. The stories we've written in our minds impact whether we get back on the swing again with excitement or fear. Mindfulness is paying attention to those stories and rewriting them if they are blocking us from growth.  

What's causing you stress today? How can you rewrite that story?

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