Ellen Langer

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  • Mindfulness
  • Jul 8, 06:05 PM

Bucket List?

I was part of a prestigious panel in Australia and the moderator asked what was on our bucket lists. For those unfamiliar with the concept, it’s a list of things you want to do before “kicking the bucket,” while still healthy enough to do them.

I don’t have a bucket list, so I considered why that was the case. It wasn’t that I was too young nor without modest means to carry out whatever I might have put on it. I realized that as long as we’re happy doing whatever we’re doing, we have no need to long for anything else. When we know why we’re doing what we’re doing, i.e. living mindfully means there will be no regrets. No regrets means no need for any kind of bucket.

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  • Appearances
  • Jun 8, 07:04 AM

Invitation to a New Show and Reception

All are welcome to come to the Julie Heller Gallery for a new show of my paintings from July 6 to July 19. A reception will be held on on Friday, July 6 at 7:30 at the gallery. If you’re in the Provincetown area, please stop by and say hello.

Julie Heller Gallery
2 Gosnold Street
Provincetown MA 02657
508.487.2169
Julie Heller Gallery

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  • Mindfulness
  • May 14, 08:52 PM

Why We Play Games

I have a different view from how I think most people regard the playing of computer games. They remind me of those who want to close casinos because of the money and time they think people waste. It is as if they think that closing the casino will lead these people to healthier activities—perhaps libraries and concerts. I very much doubt it.

I think that if people are given alternatives that are exciting and that lead them to feel good about themselves, they will gravitate to them. How is this related to computer games? People usually prefer spending their time in ways that make them feel challenged, competent and strong. If our friends, children, spouses prefer their iPhones to us, the answer, in my view is not to abolish the use of the gadget in our presence. It is for us to make the potential interaction more interesting and affirming. Indeed, I think that the problem is not the “addicted gamer.” If given the choice to have an intimate, authentic warm loving interaction or play Angry Birds, it’s hard for me to imagine people choosing the game. We have learned to settle for unlived lives, so this alternative doesn’t even occur to us. An interactive mindful alternative might be just the thing we need.

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  • Appearances
  • Nov 5, 09:24 AM

Spring 2012 Program at Kripalu, June 1-3

I will be leading a program session at Kripalu June 1-3. A description of the program is below and you can get more information about it at the Kirpalu website.

To register, call 1-800-741-7353.

Ellen Langer’s book, Counterclockwise, is being made into a movie starring Jennifer Aniston. Ellen’s groundbreaking studies, including the Counterclockwise study, have led to a remarkable set of findings on the practical applications of mindfulness for health: When people are taught to be mindful in a fashion very different from meditation, they become more creative, healthier, and happier. They show improvements in memory, attention, and productivity, a decrease in judgment of self and others, and a decrease in burnout. Most dramatically, the research has found an increase in longevity, an improvement in vision, and a decrease in weight, all as a result of people changing their minds.

While this might sound like work, Ellen’s approach is actually the essence of play and laughter—you can expect to have fun while you learn life-changing strategies. In this workshop, Ellen will discuss the research and ideas described in her four-book mindfulness series, guide personal and interpersonal exercises, and participate in an in-depth Q&A period.

Recommended reading Ellen Langer, Counterclockwise: Mindful Health and the Power of Possibility (Ballantine Books) and On Becoming an Artist (Ballantine Books).

CE Credits

This program is eligible for :

8.5 credits for Nurses, $20 additional charge
8.5 credits for Certified Counselors (NBCC), $20 additional charge
8.5 credits for Psychologists (PSY), $20 additional charge
8.5 credits for Social Workers (SW), $20 additional charge

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  • Mindfulness
  • Nov 5, 09:20 AM

What will I do if I retire?

A problem for the large number of potential retirees is how to keep from going crazy if they retire. It’s an odd problem in that, if we’re thinking of retiring, we’re probably not our happiest at work or the issue probably wouldn’t come up in the first place.

There is no reason to expect to know exactly what we’ll want to do when we’ve never been in the position before. Those of us who can’t find the time to do the things we love doing, probably won’t have a problem in retirement. This doesn’t represent a large number of us though. The real problem is not not knowing what we’ll do but is thinking we should know. The second problem is one that existed throughout our lives and that is waiting for something to grab our interest.

As I’ve written many times before in different contexts, activities are not inherently interesting or boring. Tom Sawyer was bored watching his friends take over his fence- painting chores. If we want to find something, or someone for that matter, interesting, all we need to do is notice things about it. The more we mindfully notice, the more engaged we become and the more our decision to leave an unfulfilling job seems the right decision.