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The Way to BE

What Are You Thinking? Your Health Depends On It!

By Donna Gates, as seen on:

While science is always expanding our horizons, it can also limit them.

Harvard psychologist Ellen Langer’s latest book, Counterclockwise, goes through study after study pointing out that our state of mind has the greatest influence over our health.

The Counterclockwise study follows a group of elderly men in an environment that perfectly replicates their past, when they were all young and healthy. At the end of the study, many of these men made dramatic improvements in their strength and mobility.

The point: Perception plays a crucial role in our health.

This means what the doctor tells you, what you believe, and how others interact with you are factors that are just as important as biochemistry!

For many of us, the mind-body connection is something that we have heard about before. What is remarkable about Ellen Langer’s work is the obvious connection between belief and disease.

In other words, if you think you have a disease, if you think you need a cane to walk, or if you think your vision is poor, think again. Reframe the condition or, as she puts it, practice mindfulness.

Everything is NEW.

The easiest way to practice mindfulness is to start noticing new things.

The more new things you notice, or the more novelty you experience, the more mindful you are.

When we ask ourselves to notice new things, we let go of what we think we know.

We also experience each moment for what it really is: absolutely unique.

We tap into our greatest potential when we are in the “I don’t know” state.

Get into a state of wonder!

It is important to remember that knowledge about the body is always expanding.

In fact, there are many scientists who are on the cutting-edge of the “I don’t know.” They are in a constant state of wonder. This sets the foundation for discovery.

In spite of all that we do not know, it is comforting to think that we do know.

This is one of the reasons why the greatest hurdles we have in health is our own belief.

Belief can be tough to negotiate through, especially when surrounded by a team of doctors, family, and friends who are all saying the same thing.

Always keep in mind:

  • A doctor’s visit or even lab work is only a snapshot of the body.
  • Much of what your doctor or physician tells you is based on research, not absolute fact.
  • The best physicians are willing to admit when they do not know.

What this means is that the physical body is always in state of change. And that most of science is social construction. New research is always adding to or changing old research. Most of what we know is filtered through the perception of a person or a group of people.

When it comes to your health, you have the greatest power to make change. Start by taking one step at a time: Start to notice new things!


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  • earlymaya7

    Hi! To improve one's health, he/she could "notice new things." I am new in this definition of mindfulness. Its amusing to know the definition is related to one's health. I will practice this and discover more about it. Thanks for sharing!

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